Sunday, July 21, 2024

With taxes rising 6.7 per cent, here’s what you can expect in Quinte West for 2024

Quinte West’s municipal building. Photo by Emma Persaud/Quinteist

Quinte West’s budget talks – which Councillor Don Kunzte described as “the longest budget discussions in my entire history” – have closed. Here’s what residents can expect to see in 2024.

Tax raise to 6.7 per cent

After four separate meetings of council focused exclusively on the budget, Quinte West Council managed to whittle down the proposed 9.26 per cent tax increase to 6.7 per cent. The lengthy undertaking involved looking at each individual proposal from hiring four new city staff to a multitude of community projects.

Throughout the process, many council members expressed their opinions on the process and the prospect of such a high tax increase. Councillor Sharp, during their second day of consultation, described it to her fellow council members as “the worst budget we’ve ever had.”

And Councillor Zack Card appeared to mourn the choices they had to make that would affect city partners like the Quinte Youth Centre. “One of the difficulties this year is that we have so many amazing community groups and a severe lack of funding,” he said.

Community members Sandy Komarnisky and Bob Richards wrote to council sharing their hope that taxes be kept as low as possible, stating in 2023 they paid $5,120.69 in taxes. With the 6.7 per cent increase, they will be paying an additional $350.

Major Marina Renovations

The big-ticket item on the budget this year is a $7 million breakwall replacement job to be done in the marina. The current breakwall, made of a styrofoam substance, is deteriorating and is now set to be replaced with a steel breakwall expected to last 40 years or more.

Many council members expressed their disappointment not only with the temporary nature of the current breakwall, but also with the marina itself, claiming it hasn’t brought in the tourism or local attraction they expected.

Regardless, the breakwall is becoming an environmental hazard that the Ministry of the Environment is aware of. Councillor Zack Card told council that paying for the new breakwall was both an environmental and economic choice:

“We can’t repair it because of keeping polystyrene out of the water,” he said. “We have an unfolding environmental issue and we can be fined 100k per day if we don’t deal with this…the only option we have is to replace it. We could spend $6 million on fines and still have a wall to replace in the end.”

Bag Tag increase

In an effort to keep the yearly taxes low, the price of garbage bag tags is going up. Residents can expect the $3 dollar tags to now be $3.25, starting immediately.

Bus fare increase

Bus fares throughout the Quinte West region are also going up. Quinte Transit’s Shelly Ackers met with council and explained that fare increases from 2020 were delayed during the pandemic and must now take place.

Monthly bus passes are expected to increase by $5, and special service trips from Trenton to Belleville will go from $13 a trip to $14.

More roadwork to come

After a summer of roadwork, those traveling through the Quinte area can expect more construction delays. The following road renovations were presented to council for 2024, with an expected cost of $1.68 million to complete. They will be reassessed in the spring before the work begins.

Acme Road: From Johnstown Rd to Bonisteel Rd
Airport Road: From Foxboro-Stirling Rd to Ketchesons Rd
Bird Road: From Foxboro-Stirling to Factory Rd
Bruyea Road: From Gabourie Rd to Richards Rd
Gazley Road: From Fox Rd to Gabourie Rd
Grills Road: From Wallbridge-Loyalist Rd to Aikins Rd
Ketchesons Road: From Frankford Rd to Fish & Game Club Rd
Meyers Creek Road: From Hamilton Rd to Whites Rd
Murray Street: From Colonial Dr to County Rd 40
Platt Road: From Bonisteel Rd to Harrington Rd
Quinte View Drive: From Old Hwy 2 to 63 Quinte View Dr
River Valley Road: From Sagers Corners to Foxboro-Stirling
Stickles Road: From Johnstown Rd to 305 Stickles Rd
Tabernacle Road: From Will Johnson Rd to Wiley Rd
Turncliffe Road: From Colonial Dr to 89 Turncliffe Rd
Westlake Road: From Parks Rd to Stockdale Rd

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