Following two online community consultations and four Budget Committee meetings, on Wednesday, February 2, Chatham-Kent Council passed the 2022 municipal budget.
The 2.79% budget increase includes service enhancements within both ambulance and police services, and an increased investment in senior services, transit, debt reduction and sustainable investments in many services.
The increase after the provincial download is under the 2021 Canada inflation rate of 3.4%. The overall budget increase represents a tax impact of approximately $84 on an average home assessment of $173,700.
The budget passed by an 11-7 margin. Voting in favour were Mayor Canniff and councillors Authier, Ceccacci, Crew, Faas, Hall, Harrigan, Kirkwood-Whyte, Latimer, McGrail and Brock McGregor. Voting against the budget were councillors Bondy, Finn, Carmen McGregor, Pinsonneault, Sulman, Thompson and Wright.
Prior to the draft budget being completed, the municipality launched a budget survey to seek input from the residents on areas of focus that were of importance to the public. The survey had over 200 responses, providing the municipality with residents’ ideas and opinions.
After the recommendations were presented to Council by the municipal administration on January 12, the administration held online consultations along with a question-and-answer forum on Let’s Talk CK to gather input from citizens on the recommendations. Comments were also received by e-mail.
The online consultations resulted in greater public education and understanding of the operations of the municipality and were well viewed with over 2,500 views.
Budget Committee Chair Councillor Brock McGregor said the budget process brings forward a wide variety of perspectives. “Over the course of the public input and budget sessions, there were many ideas expressed,” he said. “We are a stronger community when we consider all options and find common ground. I’d like to thank the public, councillors and staff for the hard work and input.”
Mayor Darrin Canniff said the budget is a reflection of the times. “If inflation was at zero, we would have a 1.6-per-cent tax decrease,” he said. “We were able to find savings throughout everything else. As well, we added to ambulance service and are spending $4 million more on capital. Inflation was the driver in this budget.”
For more information on the 2022 Municipality of Chatham-Kent budget, please visit the municipal webpage Our Municipal Budgets.