Budget Deliberations Start at City Hall
This year, the City is looking at an overall operating budget of $128.8 million dollars. While the City does get revenue from other sources, such as a share of the traffic fine revenue, land sales, and 10% of net profit from the Casino, the bulk of the dollars comes from taxation. This year, the City is looking at needing $2,615,729.00 more dollars (or 2.72%) from the taxation revenue stream in order to provide services at the current level.
There will also be a need to look at requested enhancements, which would see that 2.72% increase.
As is the case every year, the actual increase in taxes to be paid by property owners will depend on the assessed values of properties, and what share each different class of properties will bear.
Mayor Lyn Hall says the real challenges this year are on the capital side of the budget even though the dollars needed for major projects such as the replacement of the Four Seasons Pool and Fire Hall #1 would not be required in this fiscal year “What’s important for us, is that the planning needs to begin through this budget cycle.”
Operationally, Mayor Hall doesn’t see any major stress factors “I think the operational budget is pretty straight forward. One of the things that may happen, depending on what we do with the roads budget, if we take some of the dollars out of that budget and put it towards parks and sidewalks.” Staff are recommending $2 million of the $ 7 million dollars for the roads budget be earmarked for sidewalk and park upgrades.
There is no proposed change to the snow levy, ($7 million dollars,) or the General Infrastructure Reinvestment levy.
Increases are expected in the Police Services budget to allow for a few more officers, and a pay raise which is expected to kick in this year.
The first session is set to start at 3:30 this afternoon with 15 minutes set aside for public input. The meeting will take a recess at 5 p.m. and reconvene at 6:00 with another public input session of 15 minutes before Council gets down to examining the balance of departmental budgets.
The second meeting, which will examine the Capital budget plan, is set for Wednesday.