By Sarah Law 
BELLEVILLE – Prince Edward County’s council  approved the 2019 budget Thursday afternoon, and the changes require higher taxes.
“We are committed in 2019 to maintaining service levels and investing in key priorities like roads and bridges, a new hospital, affordable housing, and food insecurity,” Mayor Steve Ferguson of Prince Edward is quoted as saying in a press release sent out by the county.
“A tax increase is required, a decision that council did not take lightly. We have done our best to keep costs down and limit the impact to taxpayers by looking at every single line item expense and request for funds,” he said.
A municipal operating budget of $54.4 million and a capital budget of $13.9 million have been approved. Both budgets combined require a tax raise of 2.71 per cent.
The council also approved a one-per-cent tax levy that supports the redevelopment of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital and a 2.5-per-cent tax levy for improving the county’s roads and bridges.
Council also passed a water operating budget of $4 million, a wastewater operating budget of $4.1 million and a water and wastewater capital budget of $7.7 million.
“To achieve true financial sustainability, it is imperative over the next four years that council and staff work together to find new ways of doing business and operating more efficiently,” Ferguson is quoted as saying. “We will determine our strategic priorities in the next few months and align future budgets according to this plan.”
More details of the budget will be posted on the county’s website.