EMBRUN – Last week, township of Russell residents were given an opportunity to discuss the 2022 budget with both the mayor and the municipality’s financial expert.

“This is, hopefully, an interactive discussion,” Mayor Pierre Leroux said. “We’re going to be providing information. So, please feel free to ask questions and we’ll try and answer them as much as possible.”

On Nov. 24, Leroux was joined by director of finance and treasurer Richard Godin for the online Live with Leroux event. The 30-minute information-sharing session can be found on Russell’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

“The municipal process is not an easy process,” Leroux said. “There’s a lot of discussions and a lot of topics that we have to take into consideration.”

Viewers were shown how to access the budget information via the township’s website (Russell.ca). On the municipality’s homepage, click on “Your Township” link and an assortment of options will appear. Choose “Budget and Finances.” From here, you can learn about the process in general, as well as access budget documents by year.

“We’re not going to go through this whole document page by page. It is 152 pages,” Leroux said. “If ever you have questions, feel free to reach out after the fact.”

The 2022 budget was completed with a final approval from council on Nov. 1. The budget represents a 2.5 per cent increase in the municipal portion of a landowner’s taxes. Leroux noted that this equates to roughly $44.50 for an average household assessment.

“The municipality collects 100 per cent of the taxes, but we actually don’t keep 100 per cent of taxes. Russell Township keeps about 46 per cent of your taxes. The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR), which is the upper tier government, they actually receive about 37 per cent of your taxes, and the school board receives 17 per cent,” Leroux said. “So, for every $1,000 in taxes that you paid to the township, we’re actually only keeping about $460 and those funds we use for operational and capital projects.”

Leroux said Russell has the second lowest tax rate in the UCPR. Russell is one of eight townships in the UCPR.

“Russell Township is very much in growth mode. We’re growing like crazy,” Leroux said. “So, I come back to my question, what does one per cent actually mean? We said it’s about $142,000. So, our tax increase of 2.5 per cent means that we’re receiving an extra $356,000 in revenue for the township. So, there is a growth component because we are in full growth mode. We do have about $625,000 that’s projected as extra income next year, which is fantastic because we are doing a lot of projects.”

To hear what Leroux and Godin have to say about Russell’s 2022 budget, watch the Nov. 24 episode of Live with Leroux on the township’s YouTube page. The roughly 30-minute session includes questions from residents, as well as Leroux and Godin’s answers to those questions.