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Front of Yonge taxes up 2.74%

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Front of Yonge property owners will pay 2.74 per cent more in municipal taxes this year.

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Most of that tax rate hike will cover increased spending on repair and maintenance of the 80 kilometres of roads in the township, according to Mayor Roger Haley.

Haley said council members heard complaints about roads while campaigning for last fall’s municipal election. The new council decided to address some of those concerns in its first budget, hence the uptick in spending, he said.

The township is paving two streets in Mallorytown and doing some resurfacing on Concession 3, among other projects identified in its asset management plan.

Under the budget approved by council last week, about 37 per cent of the rural municipality’s spending goes to roads.

Policing costs account for 15 per cent – or roughly $400,000 – to pay the Ontario Provincial Police to patrol the 2,900-population municipality.

In all, Front of Yonge will spend less than $5 million in 2019 to run the township.

Haley said the township’s reserves are healthy, and that the township is doing well financially.

The mayor said he is concerned, however, by the provincial government’s retroactive downloading of expenses on municipalities.

For example, municipalities in Leeds and Grenville learned last week that they will have to pay more for public-health costs under a decree in the provincial budget, he said.

Along with dismantling local health units, the province downloaded millions more in health costs to municipalities retroactive to the first of the year.

For Leeds and Grenville and Lanark municipalities, the downloading will mean about $1 million on this year’s municipal budgets, which have already been set, Haley noted.

He said Front of Yonge is also worried that the province’s cuts to library services might also affect the township’s budget.

wlowrie@postmedia.com

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