Residential property owners will likely have to dig deeper into their wallets this year to cover costs of about the same level of municipal services.
The average property tax bill is going up by $78 — or 5.7 per cent — over last year, according to the proposed budget city staff presented to Regional Council last night.
The proposed operating budget of $677 million is based on a scenario that increases the base tax rate by 2.6 per cent. Given rising costs, staff said that’s enough to maintain the current level of services, with some strategic enhancements.
The tax hike, combined with an average 3.1 per cent increase in property assessments, accounts for the increase in the tax bill.
On homes that qualify for the provincial assessment cap, rates are set to be 2.3 per cent higher.
For uncapped properties, such as new homes and apartments, the increase is more than four times higher, at 10.4 per cent.
The city will focus its investment in the same four key areas as last year: Public safety, infrastructure, community development and tax reform.
But the proposed capital budget of $143 million will be doled out to address what chief administrative officer Dan English called a “critical juncture” in asset maintenance.
Councillors were also presented yesterday with an opportunity to access up
to $28 million in addition to the capital budget.
The proposal is based on $5.3 million in additional capacity, which comes from a decrease in debt-service charges. It would involve borrowing against $3 million of those funds to address pressing concerns such as aging infrastructure and new facilities.
Councillors begin consultations with staff today, with debate set to begin on April 15, and approval expected on April 29.