Tecumseh Approves 2021 Budget with 2.46% Tax Hike; Corn Fest Cancelled

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Tecumseh council met for budget deliberations Wednesday and was forced to make the tough decision to cancel a popular community event.

After chipping away at the 3.05% tax hike proposed by administration, council approved an increase of 2.46%.

But with so much uncertainty heading into the new year due to COVID-19, council opted to axe the 2021 edition of the Corn Festival with its $190,000 budget shifted to other special events throughout the year.

Director of Parks and Recreation Paul Anthony says there's too many unanswered questions.

"How do you provide a safe facility in these days and times with large numbers? Do you have to check for vaccinations at the door? If they don't vaccinate, are they not allowed in? Our staff are all youth, our volunteers have concerns."

Anthony says the funds will still go to good use.

"We'll look at other events to keep the public engaged, to give them something to go to on a smaller basis where we can control. A magnitude of the numbers we had in this will go to the cost of additional security, staffing required to ensure that protocols are in place, masks are worn."

Councillor Brian Houston says it was a necessary decision.

"I fully realize the amount of time and effort that it takes to put this event on. I completely agree with putting it off this year. As much as I don't like to hear it, and I know that the community certainly appreciates the event, I just can't see how we can responsibly put it on given the circumstances of today."

The coming year will see over $26-million in capital projects including improvements to Manning and Lesperance roads, a new pickleball complex and upgrades to pumping stations and sewers to further address flooding.

The 2.46% tax increase for 2021 amounts to roughly $51 on a home assessed at $250,000.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, this year's rate is down from 2020 when residents saw a 3.6% increase on their tax bill.