Here’s what you need to know about Rideau Lakes’ 2024 budget, passed March 4

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Rideau Lakes Council passed the township’s 2024 budget on March 4 at their regular meeting. Here are the highlights.

Considering the inflationary pressures in play to maintain key resources, council limited the local tax rate increase to 3.5 per cent, a media release states. When combined with the proposed County tax rate increase, subject to final approval by the Counties, (estimated at 6.14 per cent) the result will be a combined tax rate increase of four per cent, (compared to 4.35 in 2023). The education tax rate did not change.

The 2024 budget comes in at $24.5 million, with just over $8.9 million invested in capital assets, including $3 million in the Portland Hall/Library, $1.8 million for the new Fire Station, $1.3 million for large machinery, equipment and vehicles, $1.9 million in roads and the remainder in facilities, Portland landfill and fire equipment.

Road reconstruction is planned for Grady Road, Lock Road and Sheldon Road. Road work is planned for 14 surface-treated roads. This includes the resurfacing of Clear Lake Road, Cross Road, Eighth Concession, Forfar Road, Golf Club Road, Golf Course Road, Indian Lake Road, Otter Lake Road, Porter Road, Short Point Road, a 5.9 kilometre section of Old Kingston Road, Judd Street and Queen Street in Morton, plus the rehabilitation of Big Rideau Lake Road.

As part of the regular maintenance schedule, resurfacing is expected to extend the life of the road assets, reduce overall maintenance costs, and provide an improved driver experience for residents and visitors.

“Investments in roads are prioritized based on the condition of the road and the Township’s broader asset management plan,” says the media release.

Gravel roads will continue to benefit from the enhanced gravel re-application program. In-house and contract services will continue to improve roadside drainage, brushing, and improving sightlines for user safety.

For the delivery of core municipal services, $1.9 million has been budgeted for large vehicles and equipment including items such as a backhoe, single axle plow truck, a 3⁄4 ton truck and a waste truck. Within the road budget, improvements to the Scott Island Ferry will be made in 2024. These replacement assets will be used to maintain visibility along roadways, snow plowing, and to provide waste collection services.

$1.8 million has been budgeted for the new fire station, of which the township expects to receive $790K in insurance proceeds. $180K has also been budgeted within the fire department to replace equipment, such as bunker gear, fire training equipment, fire equipment and fire hoses.

Community facilities will also benefit under the 2024 budget, with the commitment to build a new community hall and library in Portland, a new roof for the Red Brick School House, modernization and expansion of the electrical system at the Portland Harbour, as well as boat launch rehabilitation and village sidewalk replacement and expansion throughout the Township.

The Township’s environmental commitments continue with the expansion of the mandatory septic inspection program. In 2024, we will see the program expand from 300 inspections to 400 annually. Rideau Lakes also continues its innovative lake association grant program, which provides formula-based funding to support these important groups in their efforts toward conservation, research, and community-led projects.

This year, the Township will add three positions to improve public services: one in the treasury department, one in the fire department, and one in the roads department.

Other projects to be funded in 2024 include the Private Road Grant program, the Delta Berm Review, and completion of the newly branded community signs.

Mayor Hoogenboom remarked, “This is undoubtedly a difficult budget year. I commend our staff and all members of Council for their hard work and compromise. Council has done its part to bring in a budget and tax rate increase within inflation rates without reducing services for our residents.”

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