Highlands East passed its 2020 municipal budget with a 3.81 per cent levy increase Feb. 11.

The budget includes funding for an array of improvements to some roads, fire departments and Cardiff facilities. CAO Shannon Hunter said the budget this year avoids larger changes to the organization and infrastructure to do further review. With the County and education rates factored in, Highlands East residents can expect a total tax rate increase of 1.61 per cent, or $13.69 for every $100,000 of assessment.

Coun. Cam McKenzie complimented staff on the budget, adding council has generally not taken issue with budgets in recent years.

“I would just like to say to Shannon and her staff, well done,” McKenzie said. “I’ve been on council five years and we’ve never had a major disagreement or in-depth discussion on the budget.”

Highlights include $175,000 being transferred to reserves for a future, singular municipal office, recommended in an organizational review. The municipality is also allotting $50,000 for an asset management plan revision and $15,000 for a service delivery review.

Most fire halls are receiving repairs to add exhaust fans, with a couple receiving roof repairs. Station 6 is getting $59,600 for fans and roof repairs, station 4 is getting $42,560 for the same and Stations 1, 2 and 3 are each getting $20,000 for fans only. Road projects this year include $250,000 for Clement Lake Road, $150,000 for McColls Road and $48,000 for Magnificent Road.

Cardiff facilities are also getting improvements, including $200,000 for a new changeroom and bathrooms at the pool, as recommended by a facilities review. The Cardiff municipal office and library are getting $33,500 for concrete walkaways amongst other upgrades, while the Post Office and food bank are receiving $15,000.

The final budget removed $10,000 originally included in the draft for a consultant to review ward boundaries, Hunter said.

with files from Lisa Harrison

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