The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville may be reducing taxes this year. The draft budget, with a proposed 0.3% decrease, was presented to Counties Council on Tuesday. 

CAO Andy Brown says the budget, as it stands, maintains and sustains existing services delivered by the County. He noted some of the key projects include starting work on the County Road 43 expansion in Kemptville, reconstruction of County Road 42 (west of Athens) and some improvements to County Road 10 near Westport. 

Brown explained federal funding for 43 is still pending, but the County is proposing to start with the twinning of the bridge over the Kemptville Creek this year. 

He says the County is also looking at replacing most of its old salt domes built in the ‘70s.  

Brown noted the reduction in the draft budget is due to growth and the assessment phase in, totalling around $1.3 million in new revenue. He says staff also played a role by sharpening their pencils to find efficiencies. 

About one-third of the average residential property owners’ land tax bill goes to the County. 

Budget meetings continue next week. Counties Council aims to adopt the final budget on February 20.