SDG Counties Council Meeting Highlights include a 4.36% Tax Hike

Article by Jason Setnyk
SDG Counties Council Meeting Highlights include a 4.36% Tax Hike
SDG Counties Warden Jamie MacDonald presiding over an SDG Council meeting, February 20, 2024 (Photo : Jason Setnyk)

Cornwall, Ontario – The SDG Counties Council convened for its monthly meeting in Council Chambers at 26 Pitt Street. Typically, the meeting is every third Monday of the month at 9 a.m. However, due to the observance of Family Day, the Council held its February meeting on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. Here are some highlights from the meeting.

Tax Ratios Maintained along with a 4.36% Rate Hike for 2024

The SDG Counties have set their tax ratios and rates for 2024. The tax ratios, which determine how the tax burden is distributed among different property types, will remain the same as last year. However, the tax rates have increased by 4.36% across the board, resulting in a total tax revenue of $58,159,510 for 2024.

SDG Library Services is off to a great start in 2024

The SDG Library Services have reported a successful month of January, with 89 programs across 15 branches attracting 1,028 attendees. Notable initiatives include the Homeschool Hotspot program and the launch of the 2024 SDG Library Reading Challenge, which encourages residents to broaden their reading horizons. The Alexandria Branch has undergone bathroom renovations for improved safety and aesthetics, and the library system has processed 764 new items, with significant activity in Inter-Library Loans and Book Club kits.

The SDG Library is also actively recruiting for various positions, including a Courier, Summer Reading Club and Outreach Facilitators, a Community Librarian, and a Library Services Assistant for the Williamsburg Branch. These developments reflect the SDG Counties’ commitment to enhancing rural development, preserving natural assets, and providing quality library services to their communities.

Expanding Major Open Space Designation

SDG Counties Council has directed staff to initiate an Official Plan Amendment to permit the Major Open Space land use designation outside urban settlement areas. This move aims to preserve natural and recreational spaces in Rural Settlement Areas, Rural districts, and Agricultural Resource Lands, reducing the likelihood of these lands being deemed surplus and developed.

The amendment seeks to protect municipally-owned lands, including conservation areas and forests, ensuring their long-term use for environmental and recreational purposes. Local municipal staff and conservation authorities have supported this initiative, recognizing its potential to strengthen policy protections for rural lands.

Updating Consent Policies for Rural Severances

SDG Counties Council has also directed staff to update the Consent application policies and review criteria for rural severances. This amendment aims to accommodate sustainable growth in rural areas, focusing on maintaining rural character and considering the impacts on well and septic systems. The proposed changes include resetting the dates for creating up to two lots from a lot in a Rural District, with input from local municipalities to ensure the dates reflect their needs. Staff will return to the Council at a future date with a report.

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