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Council Approves 2013 City Budget


March 4, 2013 – City Council ratified the Tax-Supported 2013 Budget that will result in a municipal tax levy of $159.6 million, an increase of 2.6% or $4 million over 2012. Of the $4 million increase, approximately $3.1 million is dedicated to capital infrastructure spending on repairing roads and other key assets.

For the average residential property assessed at $138,502, the budget represents a 3.51% increase in property tax, or an $89 increase for the year.  Due to the market value reassessment that is ongoing by Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), homeowners whose assessments have not changed will pay less than this amount while those whose assessments have increased significantly will pay more. 

MPAC’s reassessment has also resulted in a slight shift in the City’s tax base from commercial/industrial towards residential; a phenomenon that is caused by residential properties increasing in value faster than other classes.  Taxes are levied to each property based on their assessment values as determined by MPAC; the City has no direct control over these assessments.

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

What does the 2013 Budget mean to the citizens of Thunder Bay?

Highlights

  • Gross budget totals $418.1 million comprised of $356.3 million for tax supported operations and $61.8 million for rate supported
  • Enhanced Infrastructure Renewal Program (EIRP) increase of $2.5 million resulting in a total EIRP funding envelop of $7.0 million, of which is $4.7 million will be dedicated to road repair in 2013.
  • No cuts to City service levels.
  • Funding for new 18-month Youth Centre Pilot Project

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 Feb. 2010, which maintains affordable water rates while moving towards financial sustainability as mandated by the Province.

Water rates will increase in 2013 by 7.1%, and wastewater charges remain unchanged at 75% of the total water fixed cost and volumetric charge, representing an increase of $59 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 City of London and the City of Guelph’s water rates will increase by 8% this year, and Kingston and Cambridge water rates will increase by 9.5%.

The rate increases will achieve the revenues needed to fully sustain the operating and capital costs of the water and waste water program by 2016.

Solid Waste costs per kg will increase 6% effective April 1, 2013. The minimum charge for a trip to the landfill remains at $7 for loads under 130 kg, which was previously 140 kg.
Some of the major infrastructure investments planned in the 2013 Tax & Rate Supported Budget includes:

  • City-wide road rehabilitation – pavement improvements $9.7 million
  • Watermain replacement & rehabilitation $6.8 million
  • Fleet replacement (including Transit) $5.3 million
  • Water Pollution Control Plant improvements $4.6 million
  • Municipal facilities asset renewal  $3.4 million
  • Bridge rehabilitation  $2.4 million
  • Water treatment plant & equipment improvements $2.1 million
  • Sanitary sewer rehabilitation $2.0 million
  • Storm sewers $1.5 million
  • Sidewalk replacements $1.1 million
  • Parks renewal $1.1 million
“Overall, I am very satisfied with the budget, and I believe it achieves Council's direction to Administration, presenting a realistic and responsible plan that includes a 1.5% increase or $2.5 million dedicated to roads and infrastructure,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “A lot of work has gone into this budget, and great effort has been made to contain costs while maintaining the services and programs valued by the residents of Thunder Bay.” 

“The 2013 Budget provides for an increased investment in tax supported capital infrastructure of $9 million more when compared to our 2010 budget,” said Councillor Mark Bentz, Chair of Administrative Services. “I’m very pleased with the strategic direction taken by Council in this budget, as it recognizes that we must do more to maintain our infrastructure properly so that future costs are minimized.”

Bentz added that with the nationwide infrastructure deficit estimated to be in excess of $100 billion and growing, this Council is responsibly dealing with the issue now rather than passing the problem on to future Councils where it would be significantly more expensive to solve.

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