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Queens budget unveiled, rates unchanged

By Evan Taylor Apr 9, 2024 | 2:44 PM

Region of Queens offices. Photo: Evan Taylor.

The Region of Queen presented their 2024/25 draft budget publicly on Tuesday, where it was revealed rates will not be increasing for the upcoming tax year.

Residential and commercial rates will remain unchanged, while hydrant rates will decrease slightly in Districts 1,3,5,6 and 13 which includes the town of Liverpool.

The budget includes funding for safety improvements, remote access to water and wastewater facilities, staff training, governance review, and the October 2024 election. Funds are also allocated for structural work on buildings like the Blacksmith shop and purchasing equipment for the Hank Snow Museum.

During deliberations many councillors brought up line items from the budget that appeared to be decreasing in funding on a year-over-year basis, however, staff clarified that there were no major decreases but rather a change in accounting that distinguished maintenance work and new investments as separate line items which in some cases resulted in a lower number in one of those categories. In cases where that applies staff suggested the combined maintenance and new investment lines would be more appropriate to compare to the 2023/24 expenses.

Revenue up, surplus expected

The Region of Queens Municipality is expected to have a surplus of $650,000 for the fiscal year 23/24.

Region of Queens Municipality’s assessment roll increased approximately 14% or
$148,000,000. This resulted in an estimated increase of tax revenue based on the
23/24 tax rate of $1,600,000. It also resulted in an increase to the Education
amount we pay of $500,000 for a net gain of $1,100,000 in revenue.

-Region of Queens Budget 2024/25 Executive Summary

This surplus is due to various factors like staffing vacancies, higher than expected Deed Transfer Tax, increased NSP business property tax, and higher investment income. However, there were some unexpected expenses, like replacing the condenser at Queens Place Emera Centre.

Upcoming budget meetings

The budget presented on Tuesday was a first draft and before discussions, CAO Cody Joudry explained that it is intended as staffs best effort to capture the known costs and expenses the municipality is forecasting. Joudry indicated that should council wish to add or alter items on the budget that should take place at the upcoming budget sessions on April 11 and 16, which could then be incorporated to the final budget which is scheduled to be voted on at the April 23 regular council meeting.