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Essex Region Conservation Authority Approves 2023 Draft Budget Priorities

Sunday April 16th, 2023, 9:03pm


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The Essex Region Conservation Authority has unanimously approved its 2023 Draft Budget for circulation to its governing municipalities. The budget totals under $9.7 million and includes a levy request of $3,768,235. This is equivalent to $24.33 per household, based on a $300,000 current value assessment, and represents a slight increase of $1.17 per household.

“The 2023 draft budget prioritizes repair and replacement of greenway infrastructure like bridges and culverts, and urgent repairs needed to the museum and heritage buildings at the John R. Park Homestead which were identified in preliminary asset condition reports last year,” said Tim Byrne, CAO. “While still subject to further analysis, these reports and cost estimates reveal a potential infrastructure deficit that exceeds $1million at the Homestead and $ 1.8 million for replacement of Greenway crossings over the next five years.” This budget directly responds to these infrastructure needs and risks with a $325,000 budgeted transfer to the infrastructure reserve and a redirection of $500,000 of levy from land acquisition to the Homestead Preservation reserve fund.

ERCA is also experiencing inflationary pressures, escalating insurance costs and declines in permit application fees. Budget pressures related to mandatory services exceeded $600,000 but between offsetting items of $282,250 and levy savings of $144,303 related to non-mandatory programs, the total levy increase was limited to $227,932.

The $9.7 million budget includes mandatory program expenses of nearly $6.2 million, funded with approximately $2.9 million of municipal levy. Operating expenses of approximately $2.6 million are included for projects and programs identified as non-mandatory such as tree planting on non-conservation authority-owned lands, operations at Holiday Beach and the John R. Park Homestead, water quality monitoring, agricultural extension services, community outreach programs and others.

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