Mark Clairmont |

HUNTSVILLE A day after Toronto passed a $16-billion budget and a 5.5 per cent tax increase, Muskoka’s largest municipality is proposing a 5.29 per cent hike.

That includes a special “local share” of $230,000 for the future Huntsville District Memorial Hospital.”

But local councillors didn’t do it as dramatically as the last budget of Mayor John Tory, who resigned effective today (Friday) in a scandal involving a female worker more than half his age.

Yesterday, Feb. 16, Huntsville’s general committee approved its 2023 consolidated budget, which could be adopted at its regular council meeting Feb. 27.

A town release says the committee supports an increase of $1,361,124 in capital and operational investment resulting in an increase to the 2023 town portion of the tax rate of 5.29 per cent.

It says that amounts to $21 per $100,000 of assessment for the year on the town portion of the property tax bill.

And they say factoring in District of Muskoka and educational levies, they expect that the overall impact to your total tax bill will be approximately 3.44% higher than 2022.

Huntsville has set aside $230,000 in the 2023 budget as part of the local share of fundraising for a future HDMH, which is contributing to the 5.29 per cent tax hike for 2023.

“Recognizing the challenges we all face with inflation, rising interest rates and COVID-19 recovery, bringing forward a budget that balances affordability and strategic investment is important,” CAO Denise Corry says in the release, adding “the budget reflects fiscal responsibility and operational efficiency to support community wellbeing.”

She says the budget supports current service levels and objectives in Huntsville’s operational plans and strategies as well as critical infrastructure improvements.

Among them it supports new committees such as Active Transportation and Public Transit, Community Services Master Plan, Waterfront Strategy as well as Environment and Climate Change, which will help support future Council decisions.

In addition to the town tax portion, the “Local Share” contribution for the redevelopment of the hospital planned will be included in the final budget. The local share is the portion of the total cost of the hospital project that must be funded by the community the hospital serves and is a requirement by the Ministry of Health for any new application for hospital projects.

This year the town has committed $230,000. (Other towns and the district have been asked by Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare to do likewise this year for HDMH and South Muskoka Memorial Hospital as part of an anticipated one third cost of the $1 billion price tage for the two new sites in the next decade.)

New Mayor Nancy Alcock adds: “The budget supports the services our community requires now and the growth that is forecast in our future. We have made critical strategic plans which include the creation of new committees that will focus on enhancing the quality of life for our residents and future generations. Our infrastructure plans focus on renewal of our assets as well as setting strategy for future sustainability. I am very proud of the work committee and staff has done on the development of the budget, which sets the foundation for a vital and healthy community.”

Members of the public are welcome to watch the regular council meeting in person or online at Feb. 27 when the budget will be formally considered for approval. For meeting agenda details visit And for more information on the budget and process visit


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