Corporate services seek 5% bump in budget

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

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

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

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 compensation costs are the biggest reason for the increase. The budget calls for an extra $4 million for wages, including 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 corporate reorganization earlier this year.

“The next biggest investment is on the IT side, $1.5 million in operating costs so we can provide better service through our website and through 311,” said Jellett.

The proposed capital budget calls for a $12 million investment to enhance e-services, to revamp the city’s website, and to turn the 311 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 property tax rise.

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

 
 
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