$32 Tax Increase For Average Pembroke Homeowner

Homeowners in Pembroke will pay an average of $32 more on their property taxes this year. 

City Council approved the 2019 budget on Tuesday night, keeping the tax increase to below one per cent. 

Mayor Michael LeMay says that means not everything on the original wish list will get done, but it was important to find a balance.

"I thought we did really well, and I hope the community is pleased, especially when you look at the different levies surrouding us that are going up", LeMay told reporters after the meeting.

"So I think we did well this year".

Fees

Garbage collection and disposal fees will be dropping by $9 per household this year, while water and sewer rates will rise by a combined 1.5%, or roughly $17 per household. 

An unknown remains the education portion of the tax bill, as those rates have not been set yet, but that's not likely to move the overall increase significantly once it's set since it's only a small portion of the tax bill.

Road Projects

The city will spend almost 5 million dollars on roads and bridges this year.

That will include a major overhaul of Victoria Street, which officials say is long overdue, as well as work on Everett Street, Maple Avenue, Irving Street, Lea Street and Thompson Street. 

But they’re delaying construction work on the busy routes of Nelson Street and Boundary Road, hoping to get more provincial grants for those expensive projects.  They will, however, proceed with design work for the projects on those streets.

There are also some "maybe" projects - including the reconstruction of Mackay Street between Esther and Dickson, which will only get done if provincial grants come through to help pay for them.

A new sidewalk will be installed on Pembroke Street West from Crandall Street to Jeanne-Lajoie School.

The city is also going ahead with removing the Muskrat River Dam, paving the Cockburn Parking Lot near Algonquin College, and a few other smaller rehabilitation projects.

Water Works & Pollution Control System Upgrades

The budget also dedicates around $1.5 million for upgrades to the City's pollution control plant, and almost $1.3 million to replace a critical watermain near the Mary Street Bridge that serves as a vital water connection between the east and west ends of the city.

Big Picture

The city's spending plan amounts to $30.7 million total for the year 2019, and officials say it breaks down as such:

16% - policing costs
16% - finance, administration, HR & purchasing
14% - operations & roads
13% - fire department
13% - County of Renfrew & other shared services
11% - parks & recreation
6% - capital financing
5% - garbage & recycling
3% - planning, building inspection, bylaw enforcement, animal control
1% - taxation
1% - economic development & tourism
1% - mayor & council