The city’s 2023 budget is a step closer to being finalized.
Council will be voting next week on a tax levy increase of 4.61 %.
“Which at this point, before we have final numbers, translates into a 3.23 % tax rate increase of $47 for every $100,000 in assessment for homeowners,” says Deputy Mayor Maggie Horsfield, Chair of General Government.
She says the increases they’re seeing are in obligatory personnel costs written into contracts, fuel, natural gas, asphalt and road salt.
“If we start to take those things out or look at other areas to cut, there’s not very many places we can,” Horsfield says. “So, unless we start to reduce the services that we provide to the city there’s really no where else to pull those numbers.”
She says they’re using about $860,000 in reserves to get the levy down and there’s more work to do after this year’s budget is approved.
Horsfield says next steps include taking a deep dive into the city’s financial policy to work with staff to set the mandate and direction for the rest of the council term.
“We’re looking forward to the next three years to really hone in on metrics and different ways for us to help guide the city and staff into meeting the needs of the constituents,” she says. “But, also doing it in a way that we’re not putting more burden on them.”
Horsfield says having the operational review to look for efficiencies, an Enterprise Resource Plan to help all of the departments communicate and a new CAO will be beneficial.
“I think that we’re going to be setting ourselves up to really look at where we want to go by the end of the term as a council and having the tools working with us instead of against us to get there,” she says.
Council is expected to vote on the 2023 operating budget next Tuesday.