Budget holds steady at below inflation

Council has worked through the Town’s proposed 2023 Business Plan and Budget creating a fiscally responsible roadmap to provide essential services and, at the same time, manage growth in the community. 

The overarching themes of the 2023 plan include: 

  • Managing future growth by putting resources in place to maintain service levels, 
  • Streamlining capacity and improving processes to increase efficiencies, 
  • Using benchmarks (known as Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs) to make work clear and transparent on Council-led Major Initiatives, as well as Division Highlights and Capital Highlights. 

The 2023 Budget proposes an increase to the tax levy that would bring the blended rate (Municipal/County/Education) to 5.94%, limiting the increase to $19/month for the median-assessed Saugeen Shores household in the $300,000+ range. 

This increase will fund resources to maintain service levels, as well as keep the Town in a healthy financial position.  The increase is also meant to offset economic factors that included inflation and prices spikes of almost 7% in 2022 alone. 

According to Statistics Canada, the annual inflation rate in Canada fell to 5.2% in February of 2023, the least since January 2022, below market expectations of 5.4% and slowing from the 5.9% in the previous month amid significant base-year effects. While remaining elevated, price growth slowed sharply for transportation to 3.1% vs 5.4% in January.  In the meantime, food costs, rental costs and utilities have continued to climb.

Highlights of the 2023 Business Plan include: 

  • Affordable Housing: Contribution to the County’s Municipal Housing Allowance program to prioritize supports for families in need while advancing a Community Planning Permit System to develop more housing options.
  • Healthcare Supports: Includes ongoing contributions to the Southampton Hospital CT Scanner, healthcare professional recruitment and funding of two medical centres. 
  • Environmental Priorities: This year’s budget includes priorities around the creation of an Urban Tree Canopy Plan, increased funding to the Town’s Annual Tree Sale and participation in a pilot programme with Food Cycler to divert organic waste from our landfill. 
  • Infrastructure Investment: The draft budget includes almost $2.2 million in capital funding for important projects like the Southampton Water Treatment Control Plant, the reconstruction of a number of roads and installation of new sidewalks. 
  • Community Projects: Further investment in Summerside Park, a proposed Cricket Pitch and plans for Jubliee Park, Helliwell Park and the reimagining of Northshore Park; these will all improve our valued community spaces. 

“Council has considered and reviewed all of the proposals in this budget,” said Mayor Luke Charbonneau.  “We are committed to making sure the community gets access to the services and resources it deserves while seeing value for hard-earned tax dollars.  I want to thank staff for the work they have done in putting together a fiscally responsible and thorough plan and budget.” 

The 2023 Business Plan and Budget does not affect funding for recent major Recreational Projects, such as the Aquatic & Wellness Centre and Phase 2 of the Lamont Sports Park.  Those projects will draw funding from the Legacy Fund and Development Charges.  The Town is also exploring available grants from the upper tiers of the Federal and Provincial governments. 

 2023 Budget and Business Plan through the following links: 

Budget Presentation – Part I – Jan. 30, 2022
Budget Presentation – Part II – Feb. 7, 2022