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Kirkland Lake's user fees could be going up

A public meeting will be held on April 4 to discuss the recommended surcharges

KIRKLAND LAKE - A public meeting will be held next month to discuss increasing a number of municipal user fees and charges.

A report brought forward at a March 19 Kirkland Lake council meeting by town clerk Jennifer Montreuil, it’s being recommended that a surcharge to the majority of municipal user fees and charges with changes taking effect on July 1, 2024.

According to Montreuil, a 2024 budget survey had 134 respondents, with 77 noting they would be open to new fees and 59 asking to increase user fees and service charges to balance the town’s budget.

Some of the recommended increases are thr pool and arena rentals, day camps, pool rates, gym passes, fitness classes and personal training.

For nine 30-minute swimming lessons, the current rate for residents is $60. It’s being suggested that that be increased to $69. For five private lessons for residents, it currently costs $105 and the town is looking to increase that to $125.

The town’s baseball field per game could also be going up. For the Kirkland Lake slo-pitch league, it's recommended that the team rate cost for an eight-week session increase from from $318 to $332.

If approved, marriage licences will increase from $125 to $150, while civil marriage ceremonies would increase from $250 to $300.

In-ground burials at the Kirkland Lake Cemetery are also on the table. For an adult grave (three feet by eight feet) the cost could go from $675 to $735, not including HST. The cost for child graves will remain the same.

Public works equipment rates, if approved, could see an increase.

Garbage bags, per bag, are being recommended to increase from $3.50 to $4.

Landing, hangar and parking fees for the town’s airport are also being suggested to go up in price.

During the March 19 council meeting, Coun. Casey Owens wasted no time to speak out about his concerns. As a resident, he said he’s not pleased to be paying more.

“I'll be honest, I'm not going to Tim Hortons in the next month-and-a-half. I'm afraid for my life and justifiably so,” he said.

“Certain fees I could see that we have to pay, but some seem like a cash grab.”

To help save residents money somewhere, he suggested giving residents a break on the $15 fire permit, which could go up to $20 by 2025.

“I brought this up last year with our fire department. I know we're going to try and get more fees from insurance companies, that's fine. But enough of my taxes, of our taxes, go to our fire department,” he said.

“The fire permit, I know it's 15 bucks, it's not the end of the world, it's just the symbolic nature of it of having to pay. I want to have a fire in my backyard and have a drink in the summer and I have to pay 15 bucks to go get a piece of paper.”

Owens suggested having the form submitted online by residents and having staff send it to the fire department.

“They look at it, check it off, send you your permit via email, you print it out, don't even have to pay for paper for the Town of Kirkland Lake, and then save $3,000. We need to give our residents a break somewhere,” he said.

“If I want to have a fire in my backyard I should be able to have it without having that worry about paying, especially with what we're paying for the rest of our services. Good services. I'm not disputing that. But it's 15 bucks.”

The public meeting will be held on April 4 at 4:40 p.m. at the council chambers located at 3 Kirkland St. W. Residents can also participate online. Find out more here.

The full report can be found here.

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Marissa Lentz covers civic issues along the Highway 11 corridor under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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