Gravenhurst, Bracebridge town councils budget for present and future

MUSKOKA — Taxpayers in Gateway to Muskoka and Heart of Muskoka can expect to see a lot of money spend road improvements and more savings for a community centre.

Road repairs will eat up 46 per cent of The Town of Gravenhurst’s capital budget of more than $5 million.

On March 7, Gravenhurst’s council approved its capital budget for the year, with an eye on future .

With a largely new council composition as of December, staff brought councillors up to speed on the town’s financial state of affairs and gave them time to grasp the impact of the numbers.

Over three days of deliberations a project-by-project review was conducted.

In town release, they said the approved 2019 capital budget of $5,615,000 includes 79 projects, “a large number of which directly impact on services to the community.”

The largest portion of 46 per cent, as usual, is investment in roads and bridges.

However, a multi-year plan to address deficiencies in facilities, parks and docks is also reflected in the capital number.

Major project highlights include:

  • Reconstruction of Jones Road between Elwell Park Road and Winhara;
  • Reconstruction of Barkway Road between Doe Lake Road and Merkley Road
  • Electronic Data Records Management System (EDRMS), a project for management of Town records;
  • Purchase of road sweeper with the capacity to be used year-round to improve road maintenance;
  • Repairs to the snowmobile bridge over Highway 11.

“The multi-year capital program lays out a road-map for necessary investments in existing town assets. It is a balance between addressing critical infrastructure deficiencies, maintaining service levels and responding to customer needs,” said Mayor Paul Kelly. “Prudent stewardship of town assets is one of the most important responsibilities of a council, and I look forward to continuing to work with the administration to ensure that our decisions today, and in the future, are both fiscally responsible and strategic.”

The town’s operating budget was dealt with separately.

The 2019 Operating Budget will be tabled March 19.  A complete schedule of meetings and upcoming agendas can be found at

For more information, contact Val Sequeira director of corporate services and chief financial officer 705-687-3414 Ext.252

Bracebridge average tax hike 1.6 per cent in 2019

The Town of Bracebridge continues to save money for the future of its new multi-purpose community centre.

Meanwhile, in Bracebridge, council there approved its “2019 Municipal Budget and Business Plan” that will see average tax increase of 1.6 per cent.

A release from them says it “ensures current municipal service levels are maintained,” while allocating funding required to set the town’s recent planning into action.

“With (it), the town is able to move forward with important projects, including construction of the Salmon Avenue extension and site preparation for the new multi-use community centre (behind Monck Public School and the YIG).”

They say the budget focuses on maintaining existing service levels; funding initiatives recommended in the town’s strategic plan and recreation, parks and trails master plan; preserving and rehabilitating existing infrastructure; supporting local businesses; and planning for future costs associated with plans for the new community centre.

Highlights include:

  • $3.4 million to extend and widen Salmon Avenue to support site servicing and site preparation in anticipation of the construction of a new Multi-Use Community Centre;
  • $1.1 million to complete the reconstruction of James Street initiated in 2018;
  • $525,000 for replacement of a front-line Pumper truck to support fire suppression response;
  • Increased staff support for the town’s parks and trails and corporate services functions;
  • Growing the annual allocation to the town’s major infrastructure reserve to support pro-active long-term planning for the replacement and/or expansion major community facilities.

Adoption of the budget and business plan will result in an average increase of 1.6% increase to the town’s tax rates.

The tax rate impact results in an increase of approximately $7 per $100,000 of assessment for the year.

The approved 2019 Municipal Budget and Business Plan will be available in the “Budgets and Financial Reports” section of the Town’s website at