Monday, April 11, 2016

Council Approves 0% Tax Increase For 2016

Draft Financial Plan Reduces Tax Increases

At the Monday April 11 Committee of the Whole meeting city council gave staff the go ahead to prepare the draft budget for 2016. The final budget has to be adopted no later than May 15/16 for the year 2016.

The draft budget put forward last November called for a total five year tax increase of 12.6%, while the new five year plan presented budgets for a 6.3% increase. Under the proposed draft budget the following increases are planned for:
2016 - 0%
2017 - 2.8%
2018 - 1.8%
2019 - 0.7%
2020 - 1%

In addition to these increases water user rates will increase by 7.5% in each of the five years. sewer use fees will increase by 5% in each of the five years and garbage collection fee will increase by 1% in 2016.

It is noteworthy that this Council under this administration have been able to do what previous council's and administrations have failed to do. That is budgeting the city's finances in such a way that they have been able to hold the line on taxes without reducing services to the community.

In spite of some of the drama at city hall this budget clearly shows a council with a will to get a handle on city finances and control expenditures without reducing services. Something previous city management claimed to be impossible.

Councillor Brennan Opposed

Councillor Brennan was the only opposing voice on council saying she did not believe in zero based budgeting and felt the city was relying too heavily on reserves and was not allowing for the impact of inflation on city spending. Her concerns were countered by City Finance Director Mr. Mema who assured council that the plan being put forward was very sound fiscally. Noting the use of reserves was not used for operating expenses and that inflation was factored into the budget and there was no reduction in service levels to accommodate the budget.


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