THUNDER BAY – News – “The proposed budget is very responsible and meets Council’s objectives of balancing affordability, investment in infrastructure renewal and maintaining the services our residents expect,” said City Manager Tim Commisso. Thunder Bay’s proposed municipal tax levy of $159.6 million is an increase of 2.6% or $4 million over 2012. The levy represents the total amount of dollars which need to be raised from property taxpayers to fund city services. and contribute to capital infrastructure programs.
Budget has Decrease
Of the total $4 million increase in the levy, $0.9 million, or .6%, relates to the City’s Net Operating Budget – largely due to higher costs for emergency services – and $3.1 million or 2% relates to increased investments in infrastructure, primarily roads.
“Overall, in my view, it’s a good budget proposal for Council to start its detailed review,” he added. “For the third year in a row we are adding approximately $3 million in capital infrastructure funding while maintaining our operating services. We are working hard to find cost savings to offset a number of factors beyond the City’s control such as the impact of the January 2012 reassessment on properties across the City.”
The proposed 2013 budget would result in a municipal tax rate decrease of 3.41% which will assist in offsetting the impact of the unprecedented property value reassessment increases through the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
“The overall levy increase is 1.1% below the Budget Direction for 2013 approved by Council in the fall of 2012,” said Carol Busch, City Treasurer and General Manager – Finance & Corporate Services, comparing the 2.6% proposed levy increase to the initial target of 3.7%.
Another factor offsetting the impact of reassessment was net growth in the City’s assessment base of nearly a percent (0.9%).
“Each property is different and there are many factors that go into the final tax increase. Some, like the unprecedented property reassessment that is being phased in over four years, are beyond our control. We will be taking a close look at addressing key budget drivers such as increased costs for emergency services,” said Commisso.
The proposed budget is the starting point for Council’s detailed review. The final budget is scheduled for ratification at Committee of the Whole on March 4.