On March 2, 2023, Haldimand County Council reviewed and approved the 2023 Tax-Supported Operating Budget. The budget results in a total levy requirement of $80,305,850, which equates to a residential tax impact of 3.28%.
Generally, the annual Operating Budget pays for day to day operations of the County, including salaries, wages, utilities, insurance and services such as running arenas/programming, maintaining locals parks and cemeteries, providing emergency services (fire, police and ambulance), garbage collection and related activities.
Major factors that influenced the 2023 Operating Budget include external financial pressures like inflation, supply chain impacts, reduced/uncertain provincial funding and the rising cost of insurance and contracted essential services. The 2023 budget also introduces new initiatives in response to growth, new legislative requirements and to meet the community’s evolving needs and service desires.
“While the Operating Budget initially represented a 5% increase for ratepayers, staff conducted a rigorous review of controllable costs and did not bring forward any new initiatives that weren’t urgent, required by legislation or wouldn’t directly benefit the public,” CAO Craig Manley stated.
“Through this review, staff have developed a budget that addresses the county’s current needs, keeps the tax impact lower than what many other municipalities are facing, and employs strategic foresight to ensure our strong financial position is sustained.”
Manley also noted that Haldimand is in a unique period of growth and demographic change, and it will be important for Council to carefully evaluate not only levels of service that are offered to the community, but how they are administered when planning for the future.
“Thanks to the hard work and diligence of staff, we have a budget that balances maintaining the services our residents value with making investments to ensure Haldimand remains a prosperous, vibrant community for future generations,” noted Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley.
- introducing new, temporary staffing resources to oversee and expedite major projects, including the construction of Caledonia’s new Fire/EMS station, municipal website re-design and the last year of the gravel road conversion program;
- over $76,000 in grants to support local organizations with community beautification initiatives;
- continuing to roll out the Council-approved reorganization of the IT division to increase efficiencies, meet service delivery requirements and strengthen cybersecurity;
- increasing the staffing complement of Building Services to enhance the building permit application intake, inspection and issuance process;
- enhancing the county’s forestry management program and reducing external consulting costs by introducing a new, in-house Urban Forester position to respond to service requests;
- spearheading a recruitment and retention strategy to ensure the county can continue to recruit, retain and develop existing staff;
- investing in the development of a corporate training plan relating to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as recommended by the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee;
- in response to rapid growth, adding a Project Manager, Municipal Infrastructure to manage all construction associated with land development;
- introducing six additional summer students to facilitate the county’s roadside mowing program as a pilot project, with the aim of reducing costs and reliance on contracted services; and
- adding additional summer program staff in response to growth and increasing demand for programming.
More information on County budgets and budget processes is available on the County website via HaldimandCounty.ca/financials/budgets. You can also check out the 2023 Operating Budget overview for an at-a-glance look at budget highlights.