Lakeshore council approves 2.4 percent tax rate increase

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Lakeshore council on Wednesday approved a 2022 budget proposal that calls for a 2.4 percent tax increase.

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Final approval is still required at the council’s regular meeting on February 1.

The increase equates to about $35 on the average homeowner’s bill under the municipal portion of property taxes. Adding in the estimated county and school board liens, the homeowner can expect to pay an additional $52 per year.

The city council held meetings throughout Tuesday and Wednesday to finalize the budget. An initial increase of 2.64 percent was proposed, but the council lowered it slightly by eliminating some new staffing requests, workforce development initiatives and utility locator services.

The Council agreed to increase funding for the capital project by adding $1 million to the Gravel Road Conversion Program and $700,000 for the Life Cycle Asphalt Road Resurfacing Program. An additional $350,000 was also transferred to the road reserve budget.

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“As a council, we know that many of our community members and business owners have had a difficult couple of years dealing with the pandemic,” Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain said. “With that in mind, we sought to reduce the budget’s impact on taxpayers wherever we could.

“The board and management did a fantastic job balancing our strategic priorities, maintaining service levels and increasing capital spending, all in the face of unprecedented circumstances.”

The budget calls for $53.6 million in operating expenses, offset in part by $17.1 million in revenue from grants, user fees and investment returns. Capital project spending will total $19 million.

Infrastructure investments include $675,000 for road surface treatment program, $100,000 for sidewalk replacement, $152,000 for stormwater pump station monitoring systems, $612,000 for pipeline replacement water main on Comber Side Road, plus $870,000 for engineering and design for Puce Road, Major Street and Lilydale Avenue and $1.8 million for the reconstruction of Puce Road.

The council also agreed to spend $250,000 for improvements to St. Clair Shores Park, $115,000 to replace the playground structure at Stoney Point Park and $929,000 for a new fire engine and two command unit vehicles.

The final budget will be available online at after the formal adoption on February 1.

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