County Council will debate $197.5-million budget proposal

Proposed budget would amount to 3.34% increase from last year

Lambton County Council is expected to debate a proposed 2016 budget of $197.5 million when it meets for the purpose on March 16.

The proposed budget came before County Council at a special meeting on Wednesday. If approved, County taxes would rise by 3.34%.

Not all Councillors are supportive of the proposal, with St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold said to object to any increase that is above the rate of inflation.

“I think there’s work to do,” Arnold told another media outlet. “It’s a real concern to me to see anything over the price of inflation going out to our ratepayers.”

In addition to maintaining existing County services and programs, the budget proposes some $26 million for 73 capital projects, incuding $4 million toward improving the number of social housing units. A 10-year plan to do so is part of that.

The County also wants to spend $4 million on roads.

Council will also be asked to approve the first of six annual payments on a $5-million promise toward the cost of a new health sciences building at Lambton College.

Additional grant requests, which would be on top of the $197.5 million budget proposal, will be heard on March 2. They include a request for $6,000 from the Sarnia Historical Society for an oral history project and a $321,000 request from several agencies to build a multi-service hub for youth.

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