Joseph Morin
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

WINCHESTER – North Dundas residents can expect this municipality’s 2021 budget to be, for all intents and purposes revenue neutral as far as their annual tax bill is concerned.

The North Dundas council adopted their proposed 2021 budget at their regular council meeting on March 23.

Unlike most of the municipal budgets passed by various Eastern Ontario councils over the years, this particular one does not include a municipal tax increase.

Mayor Tony Fraser said, “I have to thank my fellow councillors for their patience,” he said, referring to the many discussions, debates and conversations held about the budget as councillors and municipal staff considered what they wanted to do and what they felt they could do during difficult times. He also thanked the staff for all the work they did in giving councillors the information they needed to make their decisions.

“We recognized the need to improve our roads and that is paramount,” said Fraser.

He added, “This is a budget I think we can be proud of.”

A home assessed at $200,000 would be asked to pay an estimated $1,001.53 for 2021 a decrease of 2.09 per cent.

The discussions over what this year’s budget would look like began back in October of 2020. Each municipal department made their pitch for projects they considered necessary for the municipality. Councillors had to wade through the wish list and come up with a budget that satisfied everyone as much as possible.

Deputy Mayor Al Armstrong said, “It is an excellent budget.” Armstrong felt that while the budget was an aggressive one, it is at the same time a carefully measured one.

He said the reduction in this year’s residential tax would not lead to double-digit taxes next year.

The council was looking at $7,091,126 in the 2020 budget conversation, that amount was reduced by $76,437 for a tax requirement. There is still the Upper Canada School Board tax and United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry tax to factor in but it is looking relatively good all around.

Councillors were happy about the decrease as a sign that they had held the line as much as they could for North Dundas residents.