City administration tabled its proposed 2022 budget on Tuesday, revealing a property tax increase greater than the three-per-cent maximum city council had directed them to produce.
The Greater Sudbury Police Service budget came in at $500,000 more than previously estimated, which bumped the city’s proposed property tax increase to 3.2 per cent.
Although this “3.2-per-cent tax increase” featured prominently during Tuesday’s finance and administration committee meeting, an additional 1.5-per-cent special capital levy has also been recommended and is intended to bring in $4.5 million toward infrastructure needs.
“I know we’re struggling to try and keep our taxes at three per cent, but we really have to consider that 1.5 moving forward to help future councils in making these hard decisions on our infrastructure,” Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc urged his colleagues during Tuesday’s meeting.
A rough estimate by city administration earlier this year noted that the city would need to spend an additional $100 million per year to maintain its assets in their current condition.
A water and wastewater services rate increase of 4.8 per cent has also been recommended, which would be in keeping with increases seen during the past two budget cycles.
This increase “reflects investments in asset renewal, repair and maintenance needed to keep the system sustainable,” CAO Ed Archer wrote in his budget document introduction.
The total impact of all of these proposed increases on a residential property worth $230,000 that uses 200 cubic metres of water was estimated at $206.44 per year in the city’s 2022 budget documents. However, this figure falls slightly short due to the city using the three-per-cent figure initially requested by city council instead of the 3.2 per cent settled on on Tuesday.
Although the tabled budget follows city council direction to a degree, the city’s elected officials have yet to fully scrutinize or debate city administration’s proposed budget.
Tuesday’s meeting, Archer explained to the committee, was about “starting a process of dialogue with committee and members of the community” that will continue over the next several weeks.
The draft budget tabled on Tuesday does not include the various business cases expected to come up during budget deliberations, the first round of which would carry a 2022 tax impact of 2.4 per cent.
Additional business cases that came in too late to make it into the Oct. 4 finance and administration committee meeting will also be up for debate, including whichever business cases city council approves during Wednesday night's special meeting.
The draft budget also factors in an assessment growth of one per cent, although the final figure has yet to be determined and currently stands at 0.9 per cent.
Public engagement opportunities for the City of Greater Sudbury’s 2022 budget will open up on Wednesday, with feedback accepted via overtoyou.greatersudbury.ca/budget2022, by phoning 311 or completing a paper copy of a survey.
The city’s elected officials are scheduled to engage in budget deliberations from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, during which they’re expected to approve operating and capital budgets as well as water/wastewater rates.
It’s anticipated that city council approves the final 2022 operating and capital budgets by Dec. 14 and that the 2022 property tax policy is approved in May.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.