Council has given the green light to the city’s 2022 budget.
The fiscal plan includes a levy increase of 3.99 percent, after growth.
Some councillors expressed concerns that there isn’t enough for certain groups like seniors and the homeless and that measures, like layoffs, weren’t taken to bring the figure down.
Others said the budget maintains services, has something for everyone and the levy increase is below the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Mayor Al McDonald went further and broke down the figure to highlight what the city can control.
He says the Agencies, Boards and Commissions accounted for 1.56 percent of the increase while the capital levy increase, specifically the Cassellholme long-term care home redevelopment project, is one percent.
“If we factor those two increases in, then the city department increase is only about 1.43 percent, after growth,” he says. “If we were to compare the CPI in Ontario at 5 percent and the city operations because that’s what we can control, it is less than half of the ongoing inflation we’re seeing in our province.”
Residents may now be wondering what the $133 million budget, including the $101 million levy, means to their wallet.
Tanya Vrebosch, Deputy Mayor and Budget Chief, says it’ll be a few months before that can be answered.
“The levy is what we need to be able to operate the city. We then take that levy and figure out the rate,” she says. “The rate is based on assessment, the education rate gets put in there and then we divvy up the pie to say how much of the pie each person pays. That conversation will happen in March or April.”
The budget motion passed by a vote of 8-3.