County Council Highlights - Feb. 13, 2018

County Budget Delivers Affordable Tax Rate with Service Enhancements

At its February 13, 2018 meeting, Elgin County Council approved a $ 64,217,739 operating budget, with a 2.1 per cent increase in County taxes on an average property representing a 0.5% increase on the average home or approximately $7. This is 2% lower than previously anticipated.

Council remains committed to achieving affordable taxes while maintaining and expanding high quality services for residents. The County has been able to do this, despite significant revenue losses of approximately $6 million in OMPF and Ford property tax, through the use of reserves, grant funding, and measured tax increments over ten years.

In 2018, Council will continue to implement several initiatives committed to in previous budget cycles including the reconstruction of Terrace Lodge, timely maintenance of existing road infrastructure, a $3.5 million grant to the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, and investment in small business through a Community Improvement Plan (CIP).

“Council is committed to the completion of infrastructure projects that will enhance the quality of life for residents of all ages,” said Elgin County Warden David Marr. “We are also committed to providing these enhancements in a way that requires minimal incremental tax increases.”

Highlights of Council’s commitment to improving the prosperity and quality of life in the community over the next ten years include: 

  • $35 million for the rebuild of Terrace Lodge and capital maintenance projects for Elgin Manor and Bobier Villa of $8.0 million over the next ten years.
  • $2.5 million granted to the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital through 2018 with a further $1.0 million in contributions planned for a total of $3.5 million by 2022.
  • $1 million in CIP funding to improve streetscapes and improve the economic outlook for the County’s businesses will be enhanced with an additional $80,000 annually by reallocating the additional revenue from the elimination of the vacancy rebate/reduction.
  • $0.5 million in funding to attract government and private sector support for high speed internet (SWIFT).
  • Ensuring that businesses in the east and the west are properly supported by funding the Elgin Business Resource Centre with $190,000 annually
  • The county roads will receive $10 million in 2018 capital budget funding, with a further $109 million for the next nine years focused on timely investments in existing infrastructure to ensure the lowest possible lifecycle costs. This includes the rehabilitation of Wonderland Road and Vienna Line.
  • Purchase of $3.6 million of books for libraries over the next ten years.

Economic Development Year in Review Report

The Marketing and Communications Coordinator presented Council with the 2017 Economic Development Year in Review Report. This report outlines the Economic Development and Tourism department’s activities, initiatives and partnerships over the past 12 months. The report is broken down into three sections: Investment Attraction, Business/Community Development, and Tourism.

Highlights of the report included information about the Elgincentives Community Improvement Plan, the Elgin Business Resource Centre Satellite Offices in Aylmer and Dutton, and tourism marketing initiatives such as the launch of several new promotional videos and the creative use of social media marketing.

A full copy of the 2017 Economic Development Year in Review Report can be found here.

Council Supports Cement Barriers along 401 Corridor

Elgin County Council applauded the decision by the Ministry of Transportation to install temporary high tension cable barriers in the median along the Highway 401 corridor between London and Tilbury. Council also urged the Ministry to ensure that these cables are only a temporary measure that will eventually be replaced by permanent concrete barriers which are a more effective means of preventing transport trucks from crossing over the median.