Windsor Residents to See 1.85% Tax Hike for 2019

After a marathon 11 hour budget session, city council has settled on a 1.85% tax hike for 2019.

Council chipped away at the initially proposed 3.3% increase making several cuts to new staffing positions and contingency funds.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says council had its work cut out and came through with a respectable number.

He says a number of government grants came through late freeing up a hefty amount of cash.

"The gas tax funding really created some opportunities. That was almost $13.5-million and that allowed us to get a whole host of other projects done that we couldn't have done otherwise. Councillors get some ward funds to be able to address some of the priorities in their wards, about $100,000 each. So we were able to remove that amount from the budget and help get us down to 1.85%."

Dilkens says a major highlight for him is $2.5-million to be spent on the preservation of Peche Island.

"We know that in 1965 Peche Island was about 109-acres. Today it's about 86-acres. That's equivalent to a shrinkage of about 17 football fields. So unless council takes action that island will continue to disappear. Council decided that they want to preserve that island, to really do shoreline protection."

AM800-NEWS-Drew-Dilkens-Windsor-city-budget-April-1-2019

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens discusses the city's 2019 budget on April 1, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

He says $400,000 has been set aside for economic development with the finer details to be released in the coming weeks.

"My inaugural speech on December 3 focused almost exclusively on economic diversification and economic development. We've been in the midst of putting together a plan for several weeks now really trying to figure out what elements are the right elements to include and I wasn't going to rush it because of the Chrysler announcement and there's a lot of moving parts, there's a lot of partners involved. So we want to make sure it's done right."

Roughly $55-million has been allocated for roads and sewer work in 2019.

The 1.85% property tax increase amounts to about $50 on a home valued at $150,000.

This come in addition to a 17% increase to the city's sewer surcharge budget to battle flooding — that's equals about $102 for the average household.

This is the third straight year Windsor residents have seen a tax hike following eight straight years at 0%.