Ayer’s Cliff Council approves 2024 budget with tax hike and infrastructure investments

Ayer’s Cliff Council approves 2024 budget with tax hike and infrastructure investments
(Photo : William Crooks)

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

In a Dec. 18 special public meeting presided over by Mayor Simon Roy, the Ayer’s Cliff town council presented and approved the town’s budget for 2024. The key highlight of the budget was the anticipated tax increase for the year. For a home valued at $300,000, the tax hike is estimated at around 4 per cent. The hike is primarily due to fixed costs such as garbage, recycling, and compost fees, which have collectively risen by approximately $80 per residence. This increase is a direct pass-through cost, as the town does not profit from these services.

Budget overview

The total budget for the upcoming year is projected at $2.7 million, marking a $300,000 or 10 per cent increase from the previous year. This surge is attributed to additional investments in infrastructure and the creation of a contingency fund for future financial stability. The fund, amounting to 1 per cent of the budget or $25,000 annually, is designed to cushion the town against financial shocks, such as the end of grant subsidies for certain projects.

A substantial portion of the budget is allocated to various projects, including maintenance and infrastructure development. Notable expenses include the fire service costs, which have significantly risen due to the construction of new fire stations and the purchase of a fire truck. The budget also covers costs for waste management and firefighting services, which have both seen considerable increases this year.

The council has made strategic decisions to address future financial challenges and ensure sustainable growth. These include planning for long-term loan payments without grant support and increasing reserves to prevent abrupt tax hikes in the future. The town’s financial health is reportedly stable, with several successful initiatives and surplus generation ($150,000), indicating prudent financial management and planning.

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