Lambton County budget boosts spending $3.42% this year

Lambton County has approved a 2020 budget that packs a $3.42% property tax increase.

More than half of the $220.7-million spending package will pay for local social services and the county’s three long-term care homes, with another $28.5 million earmarked for Lambton public health.

The tax hike was almost double the 1.75% increase the county approved in 2019. Much of it can be laid at the feet of recent Ontario government downloading, said Warden Bill Weber.

“Staff brought forward a budget that is both reasonable and responsible.”

Council, which unanimously approved the budget, also directed $12.1 million to various reserves for large projects and unexpected emergencies that may arise.

The County of Lambton employs 1,200 people. Other services it provides include ambulances, provincial offences court, 25 library branches, two museums, an art gallery, roads and planning.

The budget county council approved on March 4 accounts for 27% of the total residential tax bill in Sarnia.

City Hall spending (up 3% this year) accounts for 56% of the total tax bill and school boards the other 17%.