The city’s tax levy increase for 2022 stands at 3.99 percent.
Full council still needs to approve the committee’s number-crunching on next year’s budget, but Deputy Mayor and Budget Chief Tanya Vrebosch says they did a good job.
She’s hopeful the community sees that this was not an easy budget.
“I think we (have) a responsible budget,” she says. “It would’ve been easy to take the reserves and put more in and have an easy election budget, put it at zero or one (percent increase), but I think this way we’re not putting any direct pressure on future years.”
Vrebosch says the 3.99 percent provides a lot.
“What that does is it gets us the lowest levy increase we could work on, it gives you the Community Centre, it gives you Cassellholme, not cutting any services that would impact citizens and we’re able to move forward even though the pandemic is still sort of looming on us,” she says.
With the pandemic, revenues with parking and transit are still down.
Vrebosch also points out they were able to accommodate several financial requests.
They include investing $45,000 for a matching dollar-for-dollar program involving social issues and security downtown, continuing the property tax hardship program, investing in the arts and micro-granting, a one-day mattress drop-off, Trees for Nipissing and more.
There are some reductions too.
“We reduced corporate training, we did reduce the number of students we’re going to take on in the summer, we still have quite a few students but we reduced it again this year. The gapping of positions, we had extra revenue for our dividends. But, it was just small amounts,” she says.
Vrebosch also says there was a reduction involving city police because of the Callander contract.
That contract expires at the end of 2021.
“If you look at the Callander contract there was supposed to be $500,000 savings,” she says. “We weren’t sure what it was going to look like. Either they were going to add the positions or there was going to be $500,000 savings. We reduced it by $317,000 and said that there would be no impact to their staffing levels or the services that they provide. They were able to do that. It was a good partnership with the North Bay Police.”
When it comes to the overall impact on your wallet, Vrebosch says it’ll be a few months still before residents will know.
“We won’t know that until probably March or April when we take a look at the rates. That’s when we take a look at the MPAC assessment and say ‘here is what the city needs to operate’ then divide it and say ‘ok, how much of this pie do you owe’. It’s based on your assessment and then we also look at the education rates,” she says.
Council can vote on the budget in two weeks.