12:30 p.m., Dec. 10)
sets 2% tax hike limit
By Fred Sherwin
newly sworn-in city council has approved a two per cent
tax increase limit for 2015 in accordance with the 2014
Strategic Plan and the Long Range Financial Plan.
tax increase, which amounts to approximately an additional
$63 for the average urban homeowner, will fund the 2015
operating and capital budgets to be unveiled in February.
It does not include a six per cent increase in the water
and sewer rate, or potential increases in other user fees
or transit rates.
will saw its too high while others will say its
not high enough, but I feel its a good starting
point, said Mayor Jim Watson. We need to be
realistic and seek middle grown between maintaining good
value for our residents and keeping taxes affordable for
number of the new faces on council were looking for clarification
on the proposed tax increase and whether it was a target
or a fixed limit. The wording in the 2015 budget direction
which was ultimately approved by council seems clear enough,
The municipal portion of the property tax bill will
not increase by more than 2.0%.
top bureaucrat Kent Kirkpatrick assured city council that
senior staff will be able to limit the tax increase to
two per cent without impacting current service levels.
be able to meet the budget directions and not involve
the service standards that exist today. It will be difficult
but I am confident we can do that, said Kirkpatrick.
Ward Coun. Riley Brockington expressed his concerns that
council maybe handcuffing itself by establishing a two
per cent limit on the 2015 tax increase.
I even have opportunity of the needs of my residents were
being are asked to set a target of two per cent. The message
were sending to the public is that we
will meet and hold steady on the two per cent when there
could very well be needs that need be addressed,
said Brockington. By committing to two per cent
we may be handcuffing our ability to address the needs
that are out there.
Ward Coun. Bob Monette was equally concerned about what
he was hearing from some of his new colleagues.
a bit worrisome what Im hearing around council.
I want to be reassured yes what were passing today
is a guideline, but every attempt will be made to keep
it a two per cent or lower, said Monette.
treasurer Marian Simulik quickly allayed his fears by
reaffirming that any added expenses have to be offset
by finding savings in other areas.
will have a chance to fund other initiatives during the
Strategic Initiative process which will be undertaken
after the budget is passed. Staff have set aside $4.7
million in the Strategic Initiative envelop for operating
expenses, which reflects the amount of money to be uploaded
by the provincial government next year in social service
costs, and $31 million for capital projects.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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