By Don Crosby
For the Confederate
Southgate has approved an $8.2 million operating and capital budget for 2013 which will boost the local tax rate by 4.09%.
The overall tax rate when combined with Grey County tax increase of 0.74% and projected stable school board levy drops to a combined 2.25% increase.
The average phased in assessment of a residential property in Southgate for 2013 is $214,203, which represents a 3.37% increase in value over the past year. The total taxes on property assessed at this value in 2013 will be $2,661.13 up by $34.58 from last year.
Among the capital projects planned for this year are a new bridge at a cost of $230,000 and $200,000 for a tandem truck.
Policing costs are projected to drop by 1.77 % over last year to $816,881.
Mayor Brian Milne described this year’s budget as “pretty fair”. He acknowledged the low county tax rate, which gave lower tier municipalities a bit of wiggle room in calculating their budgets.
Mayor Milne would like to see the timetable for the municipal budget move forward to an earlier date in the year but acknowledged the constraints on staff time.
“It drives me crazy approving budgets late in the year. We’ve had some done as late as the first week of May. . . But staff are busy and I understand that,” he said.
This year’s budget continued to set aside a small amount of money to pay for upgrades to the council chambers. This year’s allocation brings the total amount in reserve to $15,000.
Council agreed to form a committee to gather information on the nature and extent of renovations that could include, new furniture including 10 new desks for council and staff, a speaker system and the possibility of wiring the chamber for video recording of council meetings.
“We want to see what it would take to do the whole thing,” Mayor Milne said.