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Committee tables property tax rate increase for next year

<p>Add another modest increase to next year’s property tax rate. TheCorporate Services and Economic Development Committee called for fiveper cent bump, or an extra $6.4 million, when it tabled its 2010 draftbudget Monday. </p>

Add another modest increase to next year’s property tax rate.

The Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee called for five per cent bump, or an extra $6.4 million, when it tabled its 2010 draft budget Monday.

That would bring the budget up to $133.8 million from $127.4 million, representing a 0.64 per cent tax increase.

Committee chair Rob Jellett, a councillor from Cumberland Ward, said raising compensation costs are the biggest reason for the increase. The budget calls for an extra $4 million for wages. That includes a shortfall from this year and 2.5 per cent wage increase for 2010.

Some of that was offset by $784,000 in savings from the corporate reorganization earlier this year.

“The next biggest investment is on the IT side, $1.5 million in operating cost so we can provide better service through our website and through 3-1-1,” said Jellett.

The proposed capital budget calls for $12 million investment to enhance e-services; to revamp the city’s website; and to turn the 3-1-1 customer service centre into a true single point of access to municipal information and services. This investment is expected to eventually yield $12.8 million in annual savings by 2014.

This brings the proposed tax increase to 3.24 per cent, with the Transportation and Planning and Environment Committee still to report.

That does not include a two per cent infrastructure levy.

Last week, the transit services tabled a draft budget asking for a $21.5 million increase to its operations — a 12.7 per cent increase over last year, bringing it to $190 million. That would represent a 2.1 per cent increase to property taxes.

Community and Protective Services is looking for a 1.2 per cent increase to its $975-million budget, which would add 0.5 per cent to the tax rate.

 
 
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