As the school year gets started so do committee meetings at city hall!
This past Tuesday, the Finance and Corporate Services Committee met with a significant agenda. The major decision was setting out the process for consultation but with a predetermined cap on the municipal tax rate of 2.5% This comes at a time when there are many budgetary pressures including a $40 million deficit in the transit budget. There are also many inflationary budget pressures across all departments as the cost of carrying out municipal work continues to soar.
It is important that transit services be strong and reliable. I have heard from residents on their concerns not only of the breakdowns of the train service but of missing and late buses along the routes that they rely on to get to work, school and or appointments. Much of the post pandemic ridership recovery has been among university and high school students as well front-line workers who continue to use public transit as their only means of getting to work. Public transit is essential to our City and we need to have it as reliable and convenient as possible. I will be watching to make sure vital transit services are not sacrificed in this budget process.
As stated in city press release below the draft budget will be tabled at City Council on November 8th. I will be announcing consultation sessions with the community as soon as we have a location and date set up. The final budget vote at City Council will be Wednesday, December 6th.
Committee approves 2024 budget directions, timeline and consultation process
The Finance and Corporate Services Committee approved the 2024 budget directions, timeline and consultation process. It proposes an overall tax increase of up to 2.5 per cent, made up of various levies. The draft operating and capital budget will be tabled at City Council on Wednesday, November 8. Each Standing Committee will meet in November and early December to consider their portions of Draft Budget 2024, and residents, businesses and community groups will be able to take part as public delegations, as well as participate in any Councillor-led public consultations on the draft budget. Council will consider and adopt the final budget on Wednesday, December 6.
The Committee recommended approval for the City to acquire 1245 Kilborn Place to serve as a future supportive housing community hub.
The City is planning to purchase the property for $18.5 million for the development of a supportive housing community hub to provide housing options for individuals to help reduce shelter pressure and free up other community spaces that are being used as physical distancing centres. Extensive community consultation would take place to inform the long-term use of the site.
The Committee also received an update on the 2023 Operating and Capital Budget. The second quarter of 2023 ended with a $16.8-million deficit for property-tax-supported programs, while rate-supported services, such as water, sewer and storm water, ended with a $538,000 surplus. The year-to-date tax-supported deficit was driven by the winter season and extreme weather. The overall year-end forecast for tax-supported programs is a projected deficit of $6.6 million. With a surplus of $710 thousand for rate-supported programs, the result is an overall expected deficit of $5.9 million.
Items from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, September 13.
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