Wawa Council Approves 2019 Operating Budget

Wawa Municipal Council's approved the municipality's 2019 operating budget.

Council voted to pass the document during a special meeting last night, with no further discussion after it was presented June 6th - Council also made no comments when the budget was brought up last week.

The budget includes a 2.11% property tax increase, which CAO/Treasurer Maury O'Neill mostly attributes to lower provincial government funding.

O'Neill cites a reduction of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund grant - which was reduced by about $50,000, the equivalent of a one percent property tax increase - though she also notes Council is putting more money into reserves to cover unfunded infrastructure that needs to be maintained.

She also emphasizes that staff have done their best to reduce costs, not filling some vacant positions and cutting down on travel and training costs.

Along with the operating budget was a new schedule of fees for various municipal services - some staying the same, others rising 2-55, mostly to meet inflation - with water rates rising 4.5%.

O'Neill says that's because the water system is currently operating at a $200,000 deficit - even though provincial law requires it to pay for itself through user fees - but the Municipality didn't want to immediately implement the "substantial" increase that would be needed to eliminate that deficit.

O'Neill also notes hopes to soon bring forward a proposal to Council to use the Mission for a pilot of water meter-based billing.