Lambton County taxpayers, including those in the City of Sarnia, will see a 1.9% property tax hike as a result of a budget approved by Council on Thursday.
The increase agreed to was the result of cuts to an originally proposed budget that would have seen a 3% increase. Those cuts included $367,000 in spending and $482,000 in what would have gone to reserves this year.
The review of what ended up being a $213 million budget began on March 7, a meeting at which staff were asked by Council to look for savings to the 3% proposed hike.
Seven potential cuts were offered and Council approved six of those, including what would have been a $75,000 contribution to the Creative County Grants program. It also cut spending on computer software and eliminated a clerical position in court services.
It also agreed not to reduce the time it would backfill three maternity leave positions at Lambton County Public Health.
Council agreed with a staff proposal to leave a vacant project manager position related to immigrant attraction. The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, which is funded by the County, will be asked to do the work associated with that role.
The resulting 2018 tax rates will come before County Council at its April 4 meeting.
County spending is related to roads, landfills, public housing, public health, long-term care, child care, welfare, libraries, museums, an art gallery, provincial offences court, planning, and other services.