Council has approved Norfolk County’s 2021 operating budget after several days of discussion in which more than $3M in cost-cutting measures and operational efficiencies were approved.

The budget as originally proposed would have required a 12% increase over last year. This was reduced to 9% through the approval of 27 cost-cutting measures and operational efficiencies – totaling more than $3M – proposed by staff.

This includes the reduction of approximately 20 full-time equivalent County staff positions.

In recognition of the financial strain many residents are under as a result of COVID-19, Council also approved a plan to temporarily borrow $2M from the Legacy Fund to further offset the increase in taxes.

The borrowed funds will be paid back over the next one to two years (buying time to identify further cost reductions for 2022).

The plan reduces this year’s residential tax increase to 3.9%, or $9.83 per month for the median home assessed at $240,000 (note: the assessed value of a home is different than its current market value).

Council has also reduced the budget for Council grants, and waived interest and penalty charges on 2021 interim and final taxes levied until Jan. 1, 2022.

Some of the other cost-cutting measures already approved include:
• Replacing the county-wide bulky waste pick-up (every two years) with a call-in pick-up service supported by a user-fee
• Reducing recreational services on statutory holidays
• Reducing operating hours at museums
• Discontinuing the seasonal South Coast Shuttle
• Reducing the transfer to the Norfolk County Library Board
• Reviewing user-fees for a variety of services

Staff will form a committee to explore further options in advance of next year’s budget deliberations. Regular updates will be provided to Council throughout 2021.

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