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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.  

2023 Budget

On March 16, 2023, the Township of Algonquin Highlands Council passed By-Law 2023-19 to adopt the estimates of expenditures, in the amount of $14,518,951.00 and revenues, in the amount of $8,258,887.00 for the 2023 calendar year. The sum of $6,260,064.00 shall be levied for General Municipal purposes on the assessment in each property class to fund the remaining 2023 estimated expenditures.

The Township portion of the tax rate will realize an increase of $12.63 or 3.70% per $100,000 of Residential Assessment. While the combined tax rate, including County of Haliburton and Education requirements, results in an increase of $19.04 or 2.629% per $100,000 of Residential Assessment.

The Township was able to open most facilities and restart programs in 2022 and will continue to do so in 2023 with a primary focus on the Dorset Recreation Centre project which is now underway. Operational and capital projects are planned and estimates in place; however, the Township continues to face supply chain issues and increased costs.

After the election in November 2022 Council and staff met to discuss the projects and priorities for the coming year with the intention of improving and modernizing services, increasing efficiencies, and maintaining sustainability in accordance with the Township of Algonquin Highlands Strategic Vision. These projects and priorities are outlined below. 

General Government

Operationally, the administrative team have now completed the implementation of the financial software. Due to supply and timing issues, the purchase and implementation of new cemetery software and asset management software was deferred to 2023. We are also working with the County and other local municipalities to purchase and implement records management software. These innovative programs are being put in place to establish more efficient ways to manage, report and track municipal data.

As the Township continues to strive to meet accessibility standards we are working on a new and modern website with the hopes to be able to provide a more accessible and efficient means for property owners to submit payments, permits and requests to continue effective contactless service options.

In 2023, the Township will actively be recruiting a Project Manager. This position will be responsible for larger infrastructure projects such as the Dorset Recreation Centre Mould Remediation and HVAC Upgrades and the new Public Works Garage.

The Township will develop a new Strategic Plan and will continue discussions with the County and neighbouring municipalities to implement the innovative plans and ideas resulting from the Service Delivery Review.

Protection to Persons and Property

Fire Services

The Community Risk Assessment was completed in 2022 in conjunction with the County of Haliburton. The information gathered in this exercise will be used to now update the Township of Algonquin Highlands Fire Master Plan. Along with regular replacements of protective gear and equipment, the department is also planning to purchase forest fire safety gear, upgrade the communication bunker at the Dorset Tower, purchase a rapid deployment craft, a new utility vehicle and a zodiac. The firefighters will continue with regular training but will also be completing Swift Water Rescue training to ensure they have the proper training and equipment available for remote and water rescues. The department will also be redeploying the Fire Chief’s pick up to be used as a support vehicle and purchasing a hybrid SUV for the Chief in an effort to be more fuel efficient, reduce emissions and support climate change initiatives.

Building and Bylaw Department

The building and bylaw department continues to be busy and is looking to recruit additional staff to complete the septic reinspection program during the summer months. Council has also approved the recruitment of an additional by-law enforcement officer for the summer months to support our full-time by-law officer and provide weekend coverage. In 2022 the department had planned to purchase a hybrid vehicle but due to supply chain issues, this project was deferred to 2023.


Late in 2022 the Stanhope Library Accessibility Lift Project was completed and the Township was able to reopen the library branch – minor improvements are planned for 2023.

Public Works (Transportation)

Airport – the Township will be updating the Airport Land Use and Development Plan and staff will be preparing a new interior design plan for the terminal building in an effort to revamp the space to be more accessible. A card lock system and gate will be installed to improve security at the airport.

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, increasing attic insulation at Dorset Public Works garage, re-shingling the roof at the Municipal office and increasing the insulation and replacing stonework at the Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Centre.   The Dorset Recreation Centre continues to be the main priority and the project is now underway. The Township will also be working to finalize plans for a new Public Works garage in the Stanhope area and will be looking at a redesign of the existing shop to be used by the Maintenance team and Parks Recreation and Trails staff.

Equipment – replacement of aged equipment will continue in accordance with the Asset Management Plan and vehicle replacement plan and in conjunction with other departments. 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 road repairs on McPhail 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. Staff will be collaborating with consultants to complete a speed limit review, traffic sign inspection and inventory and a traffic survey.


Waste – construction of the Maple Lake Waste Management Site Operations Centre will continue and is planned for completion in 2023. The new Operations Centre will increase efficiencies and create a more seamless flow for users and operators. Attendant services will be increased to support the transition to the new Operations Centre. Site enhancements, general repairs and replacement of decking, bins, gates, and equipment will be completed at other waste management sites throughout the year. The budget reflects increased costs for hauling and processing of materials for all sites. The Environmental Manager will continue to collaborate with local municipalities and the County to review single-tier waste management services, maintain the Waste Wizard and improve digital reporting and data collection for waste management services.

Climate Change – support for the County of Haliburton FoodCycler project, for distribution of five hundred FoodCyclers to County residents

Parks, Recreation and Trails

Parks and Trails – annual maintenance duties will be completed at all locations along with tree and flower planting, seeding, the replacement of wooden planters in Dorset and zipline cable and platform replacements at Elvin Johnson Park. The Stanhope tennis court will be reconstructed in 2023. Capital equipment purchases planned for 2023 include a replacement mower/blower, ski trail groomer and a long shaft boat motor.

Dorset Tower – the installation of a lightening protection system was planned for 2022 but not completed. It is on the docket for 2023 along with the upper roadway resurfacing and wiring upgrades to the upper gatehouse. Staff will also be working with consultants to develop plans and costing for future improvements and updates of the Tower structure.

Docks and Landings – the updates at Lower Fletcher (Skin) Lake will be completed and surveys produced for Fletcher Lake and Russell Landing. Staff will be working on an assessment and community engagement process for Russell Landing on Kawagama Lake along with design and costing for consideration in future budgets.

Water Systems and Equipment – updates will be completed at the Dorset Recreation Centre water treatment system.

Planning and Development

Shoreline Preservation By-Law – the County of Haliburton passed the Shoreline Preservation By-Law and each local Township will work collaboratively with the County to implement the by-law.

Short Term Rentals – Council and staff will continue to participate in the Short-Term Rental policy development with the County of Haliburton.

Development Charges Review - Council and staff will continue to participate in the Development Charges policy creation with the County of Haliburton.

Shore Road Allowance and License of Occupation Policy – will continue to be reviewed and updated.

Cultural Resources Committee – staff will assist the committee members with various projects and policy updates.

Planning Policy – a presentation and final review of a Dark Sky policy will be completed.

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 work 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 2023 budget incorporates the expenditures and funding solutions for several major projects, some deferred from 2022 due to timing and supply issues:

  • the mould remediation project at Dorset Recreation Centre;
  • the HVAC upgrade at Dorset Recreation Centre;
  • the Maple Lake Waste Management Site Operations Centre;
  • the tennis court replacement in Stanhope;  
  • 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.

The budget document also included increased and new expenditures in 2023 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 2023 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 Township Strategic Plan and are in the best interest of the residents of the Township of Algonquin Highlands.

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