Published January 10, 2024

Sarah Rennie – LJI reporter

The Franklin municipal council has approved its budget for the 2024 fiscal year during a special meeting on December 19.

Franklin director general Simon St-Michel says the balanced budget, which was adopted unanimously by members of council, reflects today’s economic context while remaining affordable for citizens. A press release issued by the municipality notes the budget includes lowered tax rates in light of increases to the property assessment roll for 2024.

According to the property evaluations filed by the Fédération québécoise des municipalités

(FQM), the assessed value of all properties in Franklin has increased from $302,671,700 in 2023 to $474,619,900 in 2024. This represents a 36 per cent increase in the property values that are used by all municipalities to establish the property tax base. As a result, the value of an average residential property will rise from $223,071 in 2023 to $357,863 in 2024. Likewise, a farm property valued at $489,684 in 2023 will jump to $762,188 in 2024.

St-Michel says the council opted to reduce several municipal tax rates in order to limit the tax burden on the people of Franklin. The residential tax rate for 2024 drops from $0.66 per $100 of property evaluation to $0.48/$100, which amounts to a reduction of 18 cents per $100 or roughly 18 per cent. For the average household in Franklin, this will mean an increase of around $246 in property taxes.

The tax rate for agricultural land and property has been lowered from $0.4663/$100 in 2023 to $0.33/$100, which represents a decrease of 13 cents per $100 or 13 per cent. Consequently, the tax bill for an average agricultural property will rise by around $232.

The tax rate for residential properties with six dwellings or more was decreased from $0.86/$100 in 2023 to $0.75, while commercial buildings increased slightly from $0.86/$100 in 2023 to $0.89/$100. Industrial properties will see the largest jump from $0.66/$100 to $0.76/$100 in 2024.

St-Michel points out the municipal administration worked with an accounting firm to review the procedures used during the 2024 budget exercise.

Budget highlights

The adopted budget included details relating to several projects, including the continuation of the municipality’s efforts to reduce the amount of waste collected within its territory. A pilot project was launched late this fall that involved the distribution of standardized garbage bins to each residence and building served by the municipal waste collection service. More than 240 home composters and kitchen bins were also distributed to residents. In addition to these efforts, the municipality will begin work to create an ecocentre. According to the triennial capital expenditures plan, the municipality will spend $137,000 to develop the ecocentre, of which 70 per cent will be covered by a grant from Recyc-Québec.

The municipality’s road repair program will continue, with various grants enabling the Municipality of Franklin to repave roads during the summer. At least $182,000 has been allocated to road maintenance in 2024, with plans to spend upwards of $682,000 over the next three years.

The municipality will also be reminding drivers to respect posted speed limits in school zones through the installation of speed cameras near Franklin Elementary School and the École Centrale Saint-Antoine-Abbé. The radar equipment is expected to cost around $13,500.

Finally, work will be done to refurbish the interior of the town hall as well as the neighbouring municipal building next door to the Franklin post office. The municipality has budgeted over $260,000 to complete this work, of which 65 per cent will be financed through the Programme d’amélioration et de construction d’infrastructures municipales (PRACIM).

The renovations will allow for the creation of meeting and office space for local non-profit organizations, while also providing space for a satellite office for Huntingdon MNA Carole Mallette.

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