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Council Approves 2009 City Budget

March 10, 2009 – City Council tonight approved a budget that will result in a 3.47% municipal tax rate increase, which represents a 2.38% increase after education taxes are factored in. This increase is in line with other Ontario municipalities. Following weeks of budget deliberations, Council approved a total tax levy of $142.5 million to provide programs and services to Thunder Bay residents. The approval is subject to input at a final public consultation meeting tomorrow and ratification at City Council on March 23.

On March 3, 2009, the rate-supported budgets (water, wastewater, golf, marina, solid waste) were also reviewed.   Due to declining volumes and for the protection of the long term sustainability of the water system, water and wastewater rates for the average residential customer will increase by approximately 23% per cent. The increase represents approximately $150 per year.  Thunder Bay’s rates are among the lowest in the province.  Over the next 10 years, Thunder Bay is projecting to spend $99.4 million on infrastructure renewal of the water and waste water systems.  Rate increases are necessary to raise annual revenues to support the full cost of operating and maintaining the water and waste water systems
"Great effort has been made to contain costs while maintaining the services and programs valued by the residents of Thunder Bay, " said Councillor Mark Bentz, Chair of Administrative Services and Budget deliberations. “In fact, the budget includes an increase in expenditures of just 2.8%. That is no small feat given rising commodity costs and fixed costs for our many legislated and core services.”

Taxes are levied based upon assessment values as determined by MPAC (Ontario Municipal Property Assessnment Corporation), over which the City has no direct control or influence.  As a result of reassessment, the average residential property increased 1.6% in value.  This means that the average residential property tax payer will experience an increase of $93 for 2009 (including $38 as a result of the increase in assessment). 

Investments planned through the capital budget include:

  • Pavement rehabilitation - $8.1 million
  • Water & Wastewater infrastructure - $7.5 million
  • Road network improvements - $ 0.5 million
  • Public transit infrastructure replacement - $1.6 million 
  • Landfill & recycling programs - $ 1.4 million
  • New washrooms at Waddington Park - $150,000
  • New Landscaping and Parking improvements at at Port Arthur Stadia /Arena - $400,000
  • New recreational trails - $250,000
  • Tree planting and urban forestry programs - $205,000
  • Development of Civic Square at City Hall - $600,000

As well, a $10-million Strategic Infrastructure Investment Reserve Fund has been created that will enable the City to invest in projects that have a direct impact on stimulating or growing the local economy.

City programs and services that are being improved through the operating budget include:

  • Evening child care services at Grace Remus Child Care Centre
  • Two additional fourth class constables to supplement Uniform Patrol
  • Events and Festivals supports for event organizers
  • Providing Provincial Land Tax (PLT) on behalf of the Provinc of Ontario’s Ministry of Revenue to bring 10 new jobs, when fully implemented, and $100,000 in net revenue a year
  • Waste management service to meet demand for extra household units and increase in pickups in downtown cores
  • The final public input session will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, March 11, 6:30 pm at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium. The Budget will be presented to City Council for ratification on Monday, March 23.

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Contact: Mark Bentz, Chair of Administrative Services, 577-8226