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City listens to citizens about budget

Around 60 people showed up Monday night at a public meeting regarding the 2006 budget, which is expected to be finalized mid-December. Around 20 people addressed the councillors in attendance, while another 20 submitted written questions or concerns.

Around 60 people showed up Monday night at a public meeting regarding the 2006 budget, which is expected to be finalized mid-December.

Around 20 people addressed the councillors in attendance, while another 20 submitted written questions or concerns.

Many presenters were looking for money to help finance new initiatives or keep others from closing down. Others wanted to offer advice to council on what its priorities should be during budget deliberations.

The largest portion of last year?s budget ? 21.8 percent ? went toward health and social services (including social housing), followed by roads, police services, emergency services, and citizen and leisure services.

The city?s 2005 revenue consisted of 41.4 percent from grants, 34.1 percent from municipal taxes, 17.6 from user fees, and 6.9 percent from ?other? sources.

The challenges facing the city this year are a capital levy of only $3.4 million, a $2.7 million loss in provincial grants, an extra million in increased energy costs and $500,000 in new costs due to regulated and legislated requirements.

However, some of these factors will be offset by the community?s growth and expansion, federal and provincial gas tax, and the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund.

-Tracey Duguay