Chatham-Kent residents could be facing a 4.99% tax hike under a draft budget presented at the Civic Centre Wednesday night.

A house assessed at $171,000 in Chatham-Kent, a tax increase of 4.99% would equal an extra cost of $144 a year.

There are a number of reasons for the proposed hike, including provincial downloading (1.49%), a 1% increase in the annual funding for infrastructure, an additional $550,000 for storm sewer construction, and $517,000 for disaster mitigation and adaptation fund funding.

Budget chair Brock McGregor cautions it’s just a starting point.

“Council has directed administration to bring back recommendations that match inflation plus our 1% increase for infrastructure spending,” McGregor explains. “We’re where we expected to start (with provincial downloading), and it’s really up to council to decide how we balance investment and affordability and get to a number that’s going to work for the community.”

Wallaceburg councillor Aaron Hall said there are some challenges ahead for council, but it’s a balancing act.

“With some of the commitments we’ve made and the needs in the community, especially around infrastructure, I would expect an bit of an increase,” Hall says. “We’re looking at 5% essentially right now and I don’t think that’s going to sit well with people in Chatham-Kent.”

A series of public meetings are being held next week to gather input on the draft budget before deliberations begin on January 28th.

Community meetings run from 4:30-6pm each night with a brief presentation at 5pm.

Tuesday, January 21:
Brunner Centre, 32 Wallace St., Thamesville
Tilbury Arena, Ryder Hall, 49 Bond Ave., Tilbury

Wednesday, January 22:
Blenheim High School cafeteria, 163 Chatham St. S., Blenheim
Wallaceburg Municipal Office, 786 Dufferin Ave., Wallaceburg

Thursday, January 23:
Active Lifestyle Centre, 20 Merritt Ave., Chatham