Essex Approves Budget In Principle

Homowners in Essex are getting a tax increase of under 2% in 2018.

Council approved the nearly $53-million budget in principle on Monday evening.

Wards 1 and 4 will see a municipal hike of 1.65% which is an extra $27.72 on the property tax bill on a home assessed at $183,000. Using the same home assessment, Wards 2 and 3 will see a 1.77% increase which also will add $27.76 on the tax bill in Essex.

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A graph shown during budget talks for the Town of Essex held on November 13, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Essex CAO Donna Hunter sees money in the budget for a review of the sewer and stormwater infrastructure needs in Harrow as a key move.

"I think the stormwater improvements continuing, those, in order to make sure that we're well prepared for growth and for any more storm events; starting that process in Harrow which is really, really good. I think for more those are really exciting projects," says Hunter.

The budget is the first for the former town treasurer in her new role as CAO in Essex.

"I'm pretty proud of it," says Hunter. "I think my staff, as I've said, have done a wonderful job. They worked hard last year to get the five-year [plan] — we got that all done and approved and that's made this process very much easier."

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Budget talks held for the Town of Essex on November 13, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Essex Mayor Ron McDermott is thrilled to see the budget set much earlier than usual. He says he's used to see the budget done in January or February of the year it's being set for — even as late as May.

He says setting the budget earlier comes with real advantages.

"We've got projects out there, if the weather is good, you know, we're first ones out there, you get these people to start doing our bridges — or whatever needs to be done — everybody's not going to be booked up possibly," says McDermott.

Estimated tax rates for the County of Essex and local school boards add $17.19 to bring the total tax bill increase to $44.91 in Wards 1 and 4 and $44.95 in wards 2 and 3.