Council got its first look at the proposed 2013 operating budget estimates. For the average taxpayer, property taxes would have to increase for the city to get additional funding.
During Monday’s regular city council meeting, director of financial services Brian Acker and city manager Garry McKay presented the estimates to council. The majority of council voted to refer the estimates to the budgetary committee for detailed review.
In the estimate report, the city will have revenues totalling $36.17 million and expenses totalling $36.91 million. That results in a shortfall of $738,986.
The report said the primary means of generating more revenue are by increasing municipal mill taxes. It said each one per cent increase in the mill rate generates an additional $200,099 in tax revenues. To balance the budget as presented, a 3.69 per cent mill rate increase will be required. That increase on a $100,000 taxable assessment home would result in an extra $49 in municipal property taxes paid for 2013.
"I have no problem with a tax increase if we're going to do things better or do things more efficiently and create an easier day-to-day life for the citizens," said Coun. Dawn Luhning. "I think we forget about the day-to-day things that citizens want."
Approximately 1.5 per cent of the mill rate increase is because of a proposed reduction in SPC Franchise Fees that flow to the operating budget as part of an initiative in 2013. The proposed $300,000 reduction will result in increased funding available in the capital budget per year.
The increased funding to the capital budget would be applied to a new infrastructure deficit reserve. The reserve would be used to partner with federal and provincial government cost-shared infrastructure programs. Over the next five years it would result in $4.5 million in additional infrastructure funding.
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.