Essex County Council has passed its 2018 budget.

The total amount is $160-million.

The Chief Administrative Officer says the increased tax rate of 1.5 per cent was lower than the proposed two per cent.

According to Rob Maisonville -- that equates to about an extra $15 on a tax bill for a home valued at $200,000.

One of the major expenses included in the budget is a $2-million increase in emergency medical services over last year.

Twenty-three full time staff will be hired to help handle the increased call volume.