2021 City Budget – What Do You Need to Know?

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Thunder Bay City Hall in Winter
Thunder Bay City Hall in Winter

Thunder Bay – NEWS – The work toward a 2021 Budget for the City of Thunder Bay continues.

City Administration has provided this update:

The proposed 2021 Municipal Budget forms the starting point for City Council’s detailed review. This year’s budget provides an increase in the municipal tax levy after growth of $4 million or 2%. The impact of COVID-19 is excluded from the levy and is proposed to be funded by Federal-Provincial Safe Restart grant funding and reserve funds.

“This is a responsible budget that has met Council direction,” said Norm Gale, City Manager. “In addition to capturing the expected impact of COVID-19, this budget includes funding to begin to address Program & Service Review recommendations in Human Resources, Transit and Corporate Safety. I thank the leaders in City Administration and the Finance team for their great work in extraordinary circumstances; and now we hand our proposed budget to City Council for their discussions and determinations.”

“Additional funding through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) and savings in operations assisted in offsetting inflationary and other externally driven cost increases,” said Linda Evans, GM – Corporate Services & Long Term Care, Treasurer. “This budget proposes additional capital funding in an effort to continue work on addressing the City’s infrastructure funding gap.”

2021 Key Budget Drivers

Increases to the tax levy include:

  • Capital financed by the tax levy | $1.3 million
  • Insurance premiums | $1.0 million
  • WSIB costs in Superior North EMS | $0.8 million
  • Fringe benefits (CPP & Long Term Disability) | $0.6 million
  • Expansions including improved infection control at Pioneer Ridge and Transit improvements | $0.4 million
  • Elimination of contributions from Sick Pay Liability and Post Employment Reserve Funds | $0.3 million

Reductions to the tax levy include:

  • Salary and benefit savings related to projected hiring gaps | $1.0 million
  • Increased annual funding through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund | $0.7 million
  • Reduction in LED streetlight electricity costs | $0.6 million
  • Reduced staffing including within Thunder Bay Fire Rescue | $0.3 million
  • Increased penalties and interest on taxes | $0.2 million
  • User fee increases | $0.2 million

The proposed 2021 Capital financed by the tax levy budget of $16.5 million represents an increase of $1.3 million over 2020 levels increasing the investment in infrastructure renewal.

The estimated impact of COVID-19 in 2021 is $8.8 million but after applying the estimated 2020 Federal-Provincial Safe Restart funding and 2021 Federal-Provincial Safe Restart funding the impact is reduced to $4.5 million. City Council will review options available to reduce this impact. View the proposed 2021 Municipal Budget online at www.thunderbay.ca/budget.

The public is invited to get involved and give feedback to City Council on the proposed budget. An online survey is available Jan. 5 – Feb. 4, at www.thunderbay.ca/GetInvolved. Feedback can also be provided in hard copy through the Budget Community Handbook available on the City website, from the Waverley and Brodie branches of the Thunder Bay Public Library upon their reopening, or from City Hall by appointment – call
625-2230 for appointment scheduling.

There are two opportunities during the budget process for the public to make a deputation to City Council on Jan. 14 and Feb 4. Both meetings will start at 6:30 pm and will be virtual via MS Teams. There are four options for providing a deputation: by videoconference, by telephone, through the City Hall lobby kiosk, or by sending a letter to Council. All deputations must be scheduled in advance, walk-in deputations will not be permitted. Deputation requests can be made by emailing OfficeoftheCityClerk@thunderbay.ca or by completing the online “Speak Before Council” form.

–          For Jan. 14 deputations, requests must be received no later than noon on Jan. 11.

–          For Feb. 4 deputations, requests must be received no later than 4:30 pm on Jan. 29.

For more deputation information contact the Office of the City Clerk at 625-2230 or visit the City website.

Council’s Budget reviews will take place on Jan. 19, 21, 27, and Feb. 2, beginning at 5 pm, with approval expected on Feb. 8.

Jan. 5, 2021 2021 Proposed Operating and Capital Budgets (available online and at Waverly or Brodie Library) and the Community Handbook comment form are available at the Office of the City Clerk – 1st floor of City Hall, Waverly or Brodie Library, or access the Handbook and submit your comments online through our Get Involved page.
Jan. 12, 2021 Long-term financial overview presentation at City Council – 6:30 pm start
Jan. 14, 2021  Public pre-budget deputation meeting at City Hall, Council Chambers – 6:30 pm start (gallery closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions)

  • Deputation requests must be received by the Office of the City Clerk no later than noon on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.
  • Requests may be submitted by emailing OfficeoftheCityClerk@thunderbay.ca or by completing the “Request to Speak Before Council” online form.
  • Requests received by noon on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 will be printed in the meeting agenda.
  • Deputations will be heard in the order in which they are received.
  • There are four options for providing a deputation: 1) videoconference, 2) telephone, 3) City Hall lobby kiosk or 4) by sending a letter to Council.
  • Walk-in deputations will not be permitted.
  • No Powerpoint presentations will be permitted.

For information, contact the Office of the City Clerk at 625-2230

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