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The Municipal budget decisions establish the priority for important infrastructure projects, programs, services, and facilities we all depend on.  The budget process is a balancing act, often between competing priorities - what can we afford and providing the best possible level of services for residents.

The Treasurer is responsible for coordinating the overall budget process with active support of departmental managers, the Chief Administrative Officer and Council.  Throughout the year, the Treasurer provides regular financial reports to, and receives input from, senior staff, Committees and Council for the purpose of monitoring expenditures within the various budget areas.

The Township’s budget is a public document and you may view or receive a copy of it by contacting the Treasurer.  

2024 Budget

On March 21st, 2024 the Township of Algonquin Highlands Council passed By-Law 2024-24 to adopt the estimates of expenditures, in the amount of $17,223,897.00 and revenues, in the amount of $10,528,535.00 for the 2024 calendar year.   The sum of $6,695,362.00 shall be levied for General Municipal purposes on the assessment in each property class to fund the remaining 2024 estimated expenditures. 

The Township portion of the tax rate will realize an increase of $20.45 per year or 5.77% per $100,000 of Residential Assessment.  While the combined tax rate, including County of Haliburton and Education requirements, results in an increase of $37.36 per year or 5.03% per $100,000 of Residential Assessment.

The Township continues in 2024 with many capital and operational projects including road reconstruction and maintenance, building maintenance, docks and landings rehabilitation, IT upgrades as required, security upgrades, a new lightning protection project for the Dorset Tower. The completion of the Dorset Recreation Centre is slated for July and the grand reopening will be held on July 27.  The projects planned are included in the budget estimates and Township reserves are being used where possible to keep budget increases at a minimum.  Plans are underway to construct a new Public Works garage in the Stanhope area and the existing garage will be renovated for use by other Departments, which we anticipate to be a multi-year project.   Initial engineering and repayment costs have been included in the 2024 Budget with plans to provide Council with information and recommendations on long- term funding options for the multi-million dollar project once plans are finalized and accurate figures obtained.

Annually Council and staff meet to discuss the projects and priorities for the following year with the intention of improving and modernizing services, increasing efficiencies, and maintaining infrastructure and financial sustainability in accordance with the Township of Algonquin Highlands Strategic Plan. 

Early in 2024, the Strategic Plan was updated to reflect Council’s current goals and priorities, which will form the basis of future budgets, projects and plans.   The projects and priorities for 2024 are outlined below.

General Government

Operationally, the administrative team continues to provide options to offer more efficiencies and accessibility for ratepayers.  The new Township website contains an E-commerce portal which allows for online payments, and we now offer an E-send option for tax bills.  We are in the final stages of the implementation of our Asset Management Software which will be a critical tool for future planning for projects both financially and operationally.  The Cemetery Software project is now underway and we are also collaborating with the County and other local municipalities to purchase and implement records management software.  These new programs will create more efficient ways to manage, report and track municipal data.

We are looking forward to implementing the goals and objectives outlined in the new Strategic Plan and will continue collaborating with the County and neighbouring municipalities to implement innovative plans and ideas related to the delivery of services resulting from the Service Delivery Review.

Protection to Persons and Property

Fire Services

The Township of Algonquin Highlands Fire Master Plan will be completed in 2024.  The department will be completing some deferred projects from 2023 including the relocation of the joint training grounds, installation of a repeater at the Dorset Tower, receiving delivery of a new Pumper for Station 60, and completing the renovations and repairs at the stations as required.   Many of these projects were delayed mainly due to supply and demand issues for materials.  Along with regular replacements of fire safety equipment, the department will be purchasing some additional equipment for the Technical Rescue Team to ensure their safety including ice-water floater suits and wet/dry suits and the volunteer firefighters will be taking High Angle Training and Mental Health Awareness training along with their regular training routines. 

Building and By-law Department

The Building and Bylaw department continues with the implementation of CloudPermit software and the continuation of the septic re-inspection program for remedial action.  Council approved the purchase of protective safety wear and dog control equipment in the 2024 Budget and have requested increased weekend by-law presence during the busy summer months.

Transportation and Environment

Airport – the Township plans to update the Airport Land Use and Development Plan and upgrade the card lock system and security cameras at the airport. In addition to the considerations for an updated interior design plan for the terminal building in an effort to revamp the space to be more accessible, staff will also be completing an electrical assessment of the runway lighting in an effort to improve energy efficiency.

Buildings and Maintenance – various projects are planned for many of the facilities managed by the Township with the intention of improving accessibility and increasing energy efficiency – these projects include but are not limited to replacing the roof, soffit and facia at the Dorset Museum, a furnace replacement at the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre, repairs to the roof and insulation replacement at the Kawagama garage and the replacement of shingles and ventilation upgrades at the Municipal Office.  The completion of the Dorset Recreation Centre project continues to be the main focus, and will now include a public outdoor space, and if successful in our funding efforts, the addition of an EV Charging station.   The Township has finalized plans for a new Public Works garage in the Stanhope area and will be renovating the existing shop for use by the Maintenance team and Parks Recreation and Trails staff.  The tender process will get underway early in 2024 with the intention that we break ground and see measurable progress by fall of 2024.

Cemeteries – entrance upgrades are planned along with work on the plot layout at St. Stephen’s cemetery for green burials.  The Township will also be erecting a gazebo in collaboration with Fleming College as part of the Green Burial project.

Equipment – replacement of aged equipment will continue in accordance with the Asset Management Plan.  As always, vehicles will be redeployed to other departments to complete their lifecycles where possible.

Construction Projects – a design plan, tender and phased construction will continue on North Shore Road along with subgrade and surface repairs on McPhail Road and Shangri-La Road and ditching and culvert replacements as required throughout the Township.   Annual surface treatment applications are planned for approximately seven kilometres of roadway throughout the Township. 


The Maple Lake Landfill operations centre reconfiguration and upgrades have been completed and the weigh scale was installed near the end of 2023.   The final stage of this project involves the installation of a computer and software for the operation of the scale along with the completion of scale building upgrades and staff training on the use of the software.   Site enhancements, general repairs and replacement of decking, bins, gates and equipment will be completed at other landfill sites throughout the year.  The Environmental Manager will continue to collaborate with local municipalities and the County on various projects.

Parks, Recreation and Trails

Parks and Trails – annual maintenance duties will be completed at all locations along with tree and flower planting, seeding, updating the lighting at the Stanhope Tennis Court, lighting upgrades at the Dorset Lions Park, installing a swing set at the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre and updating and adding signage throughout the trail system.  Equipment replacements planned for 2024 include a zero-turn mower and ski trail brush hawg with gas trimmers.

Ongoing training for canoeing safety, first aid, by-law enforcement, chainsaw operations, and swimming certifications will be completed by Trails staff along with recertifications for playground inspection training, small drinking water operations and software program training for all Trails staff.

We look forward to continued collaboration with the Recreation Committee to organize events throughout the year along with the opening events for the Dorset Recreation Centre and the Dorset Pavillion Park on July 27.

Dorset Tower – the installation of a lightening protection system will be completed along with an assessment and development of a plan for future projects at the tower. 

Docks and Landings – the rehabilitation of the Russell Landing retaining wall is planned for 2024 along with preliminary surveying at Fletcher Lake Landing to determine crown land limits and requirements and repairs to the decking and floatation at the St. Nora dock.

Water Systems and Equipment – water pressure testing at all locations and well cleaning completed at the Dorset Recreation Centre and the Township offices.

Planning and Development

With the new by-laws and regulations now in place the Planning Department has added a new Building and Planning Assistant, in conjunction with the Building Department, to assist with regular administrative duties and to implement and maintain the new Short Term Rental By-law and the new CloudPermit software for the processing of planning applications.  Along with the by-laws and policies outlined below, staff will continue to work with Council to support affordable housing initiatives and other policy reviews and updates as required.

License of Occupation Policy – will be implemented in 2024.

Short Term Rentals – the Short-Term Rental bylaw will be passed and implemented in the fall of 2024.

Municipal Accommodation Tax By-law – will be reviewed, revised and passed in 2024 and will come into effect in the fall of 2024 and will work along side the Short-Term Rental Bylaw.  

Service Delivery Review – continuation of the implementation of ideas identified by the County-wide service delivery review.

In addition to the projects outlined above, regular operations continue and the budget also includes the following:

·         staff improvements through training and certifications;

·         ongoing contributions to reserves to ensure financial sustainability into the future;

·         continued review and implementation of the Asset Management Plan, passed by Council in 2020, to ensure Township assets can be replaced as forecasted and finances are in place, where possible, to fund these replacements;

·         continued maintenance activities on Township facilities with an emphasis on energy management, conservation and increased efficiencies.

All departments will continue to collaborate with the County of Haliburton and local municipalities on the joint activities contained in the Service Delivery Review in an effort to harmonize services throughout the County.

The Township of Algonquin Highlands 2024 budget incorporates the expenditures and funding solutions for several major projects, some deferred from 2023 due to timing and supply issues:

·         the mould remediation project at Dorset Recreation Centre;

·         the HVAC upgrade at Dorset Recreation Centre;

·         the reconfiguration of the Maple Lake Landfill site;

·         the reconstruction and surface treatment on various roadways in the Township;

·         the roof, facia and soffit replacement at the Dorset Museum;

·         the installation of a playground at Oxtongue Lake Community Centre;

·         the installation of the lightning strike protection system at the Dorset Tower; and

·         vehicle replacements, with redeployments where possible for several departments.

The budget document also included some increased and new expenditures in 2024 in comparison to previous years including:

·         increased support costs in various department for additional and improved software and online platforms to provide additional avenues for communication and increase efficiencies for staff and provide more accessible information for property owners;

·         new additional costs for new software programs required for various departments;

·         increased staffing costs to meet increased patronage;

·         the creation of new reserves to offset anticipated future infrastructure needs.

Township staff worked diligently to prepare the 2024 Budget which represents the commitment of Council and staff to provide a fiscally responsible financial outlook for the year while continuing to strive for excellence and improvements where possible that align with the new Township Strategic Plan and are in the best interest of the residents of the Township of Algonquin Highlands.

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