COVID-19 Pandemic Blamed for Proposed 7.55% Tax Hike in Amherstburg

AM800-NEWS-Amherstburg-2021-draft-budget-November-2020

The Town of Amherstburg has released its 2021 draft budget and the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a major shortfall.

If passed as is, the document is calling for a 7.55% tax increase amounting to $185 on a home assessed at $250,000.

Treasurer Justin Rousseau says a number of factors have led to the proposed tax hike including lost revenue due town facilities being closed and a lack of government funding coming in as the province deals with its own financial woes.

Rousseau says council has its work cut out.

"It is the daunting task of council to evaluate and determine which initiatives move forward and which initiatives do not. I can tell you that the 2021 budget will present many challenges for council and administration and the community."

He says the town has never dealt with a situation like this.

"While there are a number of elements impacting the 2021 budget, it is a matter of choices for which service levels are funded and the level of financial stability desired during these trying times. The level of uncertainty at this time is unparalleled in the last 75 years of the town's operation."

Rousseau says, at this point, it's impossible to predict where the tax rate will end up.

"Administration has included service level assumption impacts, however, the actual service level and financial impacts for 2021 could vary widely based on the evolving circumstances of this situation related to COVID-19."

The town is planning a public input session this coming Saturday, November 7 from 1pm to 3pm at the Libro Centre.

Attendance is limited to 50 people, but if you'd rather not attend in person a Zoom meeting option is available — participants must register with the town in advance.

Budget deliberations are scheduled for November 17, 18 and 19.

Amherstburg's 2021 draft budget will be available at talktheburg.ca Tuesday morning.