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Council Approves 2012 City Budget


March 8, 2012 – City Council ratified a Tax-Supported Budget that will result in an overall 1.26% municipal tax rate increase over 2011. For the average residential property, after taking into consideration the impact of market value reassessment, the Budget represents a 2.47% increase in property tax, or a $62 increase for the year.

This tax increase is in line with or below many other Ontario municipalities.

What does the 2012 Budget mean to the citizens of Thunder Bay?

Highlights

  • Enhanced Infrastructure Renewal Program (EIRP) - $4.5 million including $2.1 million additional for roads. The 2012 EIRP is included in the average residential property tax increase of 2.47% 
  • City service levels maintained.
  • Funding for operation of new public amenities at Prince Arthur’s Landing.
  • Additional Resources for EMS Services (new 24/7 Ambulance).
  • Additional resources in the Homes for the Aged to meet Provincial standards.

City Council also ratified the Rate-Supported Budgets (water, wastewater and solid waste). 

  • Water rate increases are proposed in accordance with the long-term Drinking Water System Financial Plan, approved by City Council in February 2010. This Plan maintains affordable water rates while moving towards financial sustainability as mandated by the Province. Water rates will increase in 2012 by 6.7% per cent, representing an increase of $52 for the average residential customer. Thunder Bay’s rates for residential customers remain affordable and are still among the lowest in the Province for high consumption industrial, institutional and commercial customers. The water rate increases in the Financial Plan will achieve the revenues needed to fully sustain the operating and capital costs of our water and waste water program by 2016.
  • Wastewater charges continue to equal 75% of the total water fixed cost and volumetric charge.
  • Solid Waste costs per kg will increase 6% effective April 1, 2012.

Some of the major infrastructure investments planned in the 2012 Tax & Rate Supported Budget includes:

  • Two new Fire Stations & renovations to four Fire Stations for shared facilities with EMS  $7 million
  • Junot/Golf Links Road four lane upgrade  $6.3 million
  • City-wide road rehabilitation – pavement improvements $6.7 million
  • Watermain replacement & rehabilitation  $6.5 million
  • Sanitary sewer rehabilitation   $2.4 million 
  • Transit fleet replacement   $1.6 million
  • Municipal facilities asset renewal   $1.8 million
  • Bridge rehabilitation    $1.6 million
  • Water Pollution Control Plant improvements  $2.7 million
  • Whalen Building exterior capital repairs  $1.3 million
  • Sidewalk replacements   $1 million
  • Water treatment plant improvements  $1 million
  • Storm sewers    $1 million
  • Trowbridge Falls pedestrian bridge rehabilitation $425,000
  • New recreational trails   $250,000
  • Urban forest planting & stewardship  $230,000
  • Neighbourhood parks redevelopment  $200,000

“Overall, I believe the budget achieves Council's direction to Administration and presents a realistic and responsible plan that continues to invest in the future of our City,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “Great effort has been made to contain costs while maintaining the services and programs valued by the residents of Thunder Bay.” 

In finalizing the budget, City Council also directed the City Manager to reduce proposed new staff by five full-time equivalent positions, representing a reduction of $225,000 in 2012.

“The 2012 Budget will see an increase in tax supported capital infrastructure renewal of $5 million compared to 2010,” said Mark Bentz, Chair of Administrative Services. “I’m very pleased with the direction supported by this Council in addressing our Infrastructure Deficit while keeping the tax increase below inflation.”

Taxes are levied based upon assessment values as determined by MPAC (Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation), over which the City has no direct control or influence.

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Contact:  Mark Bentz, Chair of Administrative Services, 577-8226
                Tim Commisso, City Manager, 625-2224