Councillor Bentz – Financial Trends at City Hall Unsustainable

Snow piled up at City hall

CPI Up 16% and City of Thunder Bay Spending up 37% in Ten Years

THUNDER BAY – Councillor Mark Bentz has been ringing the alarm bell on spending in the City of Thunder Bay. The at-large Councillor who is chair of the budget committee says that we have a growing infrastructure deficit – one that is being demonstrated in how infrastructure in the City is degrading.

“The graph I have created is shown below and is also attached as a pdf.  I feel it may help the public understand the “big picture” and allow them to weigh into current and future financial decisions being made by Council,” stated Bentz. “This analysis is not to advocate for any specific policy direction, it is simply data that can be used to understand the financial trends at City Hall.”

Thunder Bay City Manager Norm Gale says, “Councillor Bentz’s numbers are correct.   Council will determine the final levy as they do every year. Council has difficult decisions to make, and this year is no different.”

The charts the compounded growth of five key items over the last 10 years: the levy increase (what is billed to taxpayers), emergency services wages, non-emergency services wages, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Thunder Bay and lastly, the assessment base in our community (this is new assessment which helps to spread out the tax burden).
The charts the compounded growth of five key items over the last 10 years: the levy increase (what is billed to taxpayers), emergency services wages, non-emergency services wages, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Thunder Bay and lastly, the assessment base in our community (this is new assessment which helps to spread out the tax burden).

Keeping Up Infrastructure in Thunder Bay

Facilities like Dease Pool, Centennial Conservatory, the overpass at Marina Park are all examples of how City Administration is failing to maintain city facilities. Centennial Conservatory is facing possible closure. City Council seems determined to demolish Dease Pool, despite apparent outside expressions of interest from Indigenous leaders in the region.

Taking the Administration’s Figures, Councillor Bentz has graphed spending. His analysis says that over the past decade, while the consumer price index has increased by 16 percent in Thunder Bay that the municipal tax levy has gone up by 37 percent.

This is not a sustainable situation according to Bentz.

Norm Gale - Acting Thunder Bay City Manager
Norm Gale – Thunder Bay City Manager

Norm Gale adds, “Since I became city manager, our admin team under the direction of successive city councils, have found ~ $14m in efficiencies over five budgets; council has led these decisions. This has constrained growth.

“Drivers of increases include increased demand and cost for emergency services, increased legal and insurance costs, most recently decreased revenue from The province, and increased programming costs. There are many other factors.
“Thunder Bay is no different than every other city in Canada in this regard. All municipalities face the same struggles. Council is faced with difficult decisions every single year.”