The turnout was slim as staff and council for the Township of Emo held the annual budget meeting on Oct. 23.
After a 7.57 percent jump in taxes last year the residents of Emo should brace for a higher tax bill again this year as another four percent jump has been allotted in this year’s budget.
Like in every area of Canada, costs have gone up and other district municipalities have also seen increases according to EMO CAO Crystal Gray.
“I believe Chapple’s taxes have gone up 10 percent,” she said. “Lavallee, I can’t remember what I was told, I think it was about two percent but they don’t have as much going on this year that would increase costs. I’m not sure what Fort Frances did but everybody’s been facing increases because it costs more just to do the same things.”
Fort Frances announced a 4.78 percent tax hike in April.
One of the documents passed out during the meeting detailed the amounts that the Township has spent on legal fees since 2021. The Township has budgeted $200,000 for Legal Services as well as $8,000 for closed meeting investigations for 2023.
As of the budget meeting, the township had spent $113,861.14 on legal fees in 2023 and $512,633.08 since 2021.
Gray said she hasn’t had much feedback on the budget because there were so few people at the public budget meeting.
“We had council sitting up front, and some staff, as well as a staff member in the audience, now he’s a taxpayer too, there was a member of council’s spouse in the audience,” Gray said. “Two of the other individuals were council members from the neighboring municipality of La Vallee because we provide a shared service of the arena with them. They don’t ever get anybody at their council meetings so they wanted to experience a different one. Well, they got an experience. I can laugh about it now. Really there were only three regular taxpayers so it was kind of disappointing.”
Editor: a previous version of this story noted the Township of Emo had budgeted $800,000 for closed meeting investigations in 2023. The actual amount budgeted was $8,000.