The county’s rented bean counter found that the municipality’s reserves are the lowest compared to 10 other similar municipalities.
At just $322.44 per household, it ranks well below the best Dufferin, at $1,248.74 and even a bit below number 10, Middlesex, at $425.84.
KPMG’s Oscar Poloni told advisers and staff at their May 25 meeting that they should consider a policy for reserves as well as an appropriate funding strategy.
He also advised the county to continue to seek operating and capital grants as it has the lowest percentage of comparators, but offered the condition that it could reflect the nature of its services compared to others. municipalities.
Haliburton County’s operating grants as a percentage of total revenue were just 20.8%, compared to leader Hastings at 56.9%. Capital grants as a percentage of capital additions last stood at 6.1%, compared to elite Frontenac at 96.9%.
The county also has debt in the mid-range of comparator municipalities. Its long-term debt per household is $206.03, ranking fifth. By contrast, Hastings had $1,201.15 and Huron no debt.
When it comes to taxes, the county is at the lower end of the range, but the numbers reflect only upper-tier taxation. Residential taxes per household in the county are $746.41, placing it ninth. At the high end are Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry at $2,105.94 while the low was Frontenac at $390.15. The Haliburton County residential tax rate of 0.26% was second to last.
Regarding affordability, Poloni suggested the county consider developing a long-term financial plan that appropriately balances taxation, grants, user fees and debt financing, as well as measures to address concerns about affordability, “particularly given the potential divide between seasonal and year-round residents.
Poloni said another challenge is that the books show “a higher degree of aging and a potentially significant infrastructure deficit” in the future, requiring the results of an upcoming asset management plan to be incorporated into long-term financial planning and strategy development.
During the meeting, Poloni also offered an unqualified audit opinion for the books as of December 31, 2021.