Prepare for a tax hike

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By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

No matter how you slice it, property taxes will be going up in 2023.

That’s the word from Chatham-Kent’s chief financial officer Gord Quinton who laid out a 2023 budget primer for council recently.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year when we get to talk about budgets,” Quinton quipped as he kicked off his power point presentation.

According to Quinton, next year’s tax hike hinges on several factors, including a red-hot economy, eight-per-cent inflation, higher costs associated with maintaining the municipality’s asset management plan and new property assessment rates from the province.

Inflation rates peaked in June at eight per cent but have since fallen to six per cent in October.

It may lead to council having to make hard choices.

But Chatham-Kent isn’t alone, Quinton told council, as communities across the province are looking at tax hikes of five to seven per cent for the foreseeable future.

“It’s not just us,” Quinton explained, adding most cities are looking at a similar increase for the next decade.

Chatham-Kent is facing another hit as its share of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund is dropping by nearly $900,000.

Ironically, it’s happening because Chatham-Kent has grown.

“The main reason we’re getting this reduction is we’ve done really well,” Quinton told council. “Our growth plan is working. The evidence is in our assessment growth.”

According to the recent Statistics Canada data, Chatham-Kent’s unemployment rate at 5.3 per cent is lower than the Ontario average at 5.8 per cent.

“Our economic conditions across Canada are doing quite well,” he said, adding current unemployment rates are “great” numbers.

Quinton said economic conditions in the last two years are better in Chatham-Kent than they have been in the 10 years previous.
In other news, Chatham Coun. Brock McGregor has been appointed to chair the 2023 budget committee.

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