Looking to Resolve the City/County Budget Dispute
Over the last year, the City of Kingston and the County of Frontenac have been dealing with an ongoing budget dispute. Here in Kingston we’ve committed to a target of an annual property tax rate increase of no more than 2.5%. We’ve asked all our agencies and partners to aim for this same target in their budgets, to help us hold the line on the overall annual tax increase. However, the budget asks from the County have come in at 10% increases, more than 4 times higher than Kingston’s budget target. The City maintains these increases are beyond our ability to pay, and the County maintains these increases are necessary for the services they provide to the City of Kingston. Unfortunately we have been not been able to resolve this difference.
To be very clear, the services the County provides to the City are very important. Both myself and the rest of Kingston City Council support and appreciate the incredible work of Frontenac Paramedics as well as staff at Fairmount Long Term Care Home, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why I am bringing a motion at our next council meeting that will resolve the current budget dispute by paying the County the remaining dollars they have asked for. At the same time, it’s important for Kingston residents to know that we have no control over the amount of money the County charges the City of Kingston. That’s why the motion I’m bringing forward will direct that in the future, the County of Frontenac budget will no longer be included in the City of Kingston’s budget, and will instead be listed as a separate line item on the tax bill. In my view this is the best possible solution – to support paramedics and long term care staff, but also to be open and transparent with residents about your tax dollars.
- The motion passed unanimously at the August 11th Kingston City Council meeting.
- The County of Frontenac will hold a virtual public meeting to receive input on its 2021 budget on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 9:30 a.m. For Kingston residents, this is an opportunity to offer input on the budgets for Frontenac Paramedics and Fairmount Home for the Aged. Information on the meeting format – and how to register to offer input – can be found on the County’s website.