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Wealth of demands complicate City of Greater Sudbury budget preparations

The City of Greater Sudbury’s elected officials had asked city administration to produce a draft budget that does not exceed a three per cent tax levy increase
Tom Davis Square 1 (2018)
Tom Davies Square. (File)

Maintaining a tax levy increase as low as Greater Sudbury city council wants for 2022 will take some doing, according to a report by City Budgets Co-ordinator Liisa Lenz. 

In June, the city’s finance and administration committee requested that city staff prepare a draft budget that includes a tax levy increase no greater than three per cent. 

The draft budget currently sits at 3.4 per cent, Lenz notes in a report included in the agenda for the Oct. 19 finance and administration committee meeting.

“Staff will reduce the net budget by approximately $1.1 million to meet the guideline prior to its publication in November,” she wrote. “There are significant budget pressures such as increased salary and benefits, energy costs, insurance and contractual obligations as well as approved changes in social services.”

In June, city administration forecast a six-per-cent tax levy increase required, which assumes a one-per-cent assessment growth in order to maintain services status quo.

Since that time, several changes have taken place that will help inform budget preparations, Lenz wrote, which includes: 

  • Overall salaries and benefits, excluding police, are set to increase by $7 million, which equates to a 2.3-per-cent tax levy increase. 
  • Increases in the cost of materials and contractual obligations are poised to increase winter control costs by $670,000, or a 0.2-per-cent tax levy increase. 
  • The rising cost of fuel, natural gas and hydro will result in an additional cost of $760,000, or a 0.3-per-cent tax levy increase.
  • A tight insurance market, increased litigation, climate change and other factors are increasing claims has resulted in rising insurance costs for municipalities across Ontario, with Greater Sudbury expected to pay an additional $1.3 million, or 0.4-per-cent tax levy increase.
  • Although the city has received a preliminary budget from Greater Sudbury Police Services, they’re still waiting on confirmation from other service partners, including Public Health Sudbury and Districts and Conservation Sudbury. The city anticipates an ask increase of $3 million, or a one-per-cent tax levy increase. 
  • On June 29, city council approved $1.1 million in funding via a grant to Public Health Sudbury and Districts to operate a supervised consumption site until such time as senior levels of government step up. This would equate to a 0.4-per-cent tax increase. 

According to the city’s water and wastewater services financial plan, a rate increase of 4.8 per cent is anticipated in 2022, which translates to approximately $2.2 million in additional allocations toward capital projects.

The city’s elected officials are also poised to debate a number of business cases for the 2022 budget, including cases worth $7.17-million worth in 2022 budget impacts presented during the Oct. 5 finance and administration committee meeting, which if fully approved would result in an additional tax levy increase of 2.4 per cent. 

Other business cases, including those requested too late to make it in time for the Oct. 5 meeting and those bumped down the line after city council’s Oct. 13 meeting ended halfway through the night’s agenda, are also expected to be up for debate.

Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer has already indicated that he’s unlikely to support many business cases, as positive as he said they might be, due to ongoing concerns about the city’s growing debt and reserves that lag behind comparable Ontario municipalities

The city’s finance and administration committee is expected to discuss Lenz’s report on Tuesday, which will be followed by city administration tabling their draft budget on Nov. 2. 

City council will firm up its intentions during three days of budget meetings from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, and the city’s operating and capital budget is expected to be approved Dec. 14. 

The city’s 2022 property tax policy is scheduled to be released sometime in May. 

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for 


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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