Ratepayers may have to dig into their wallets a little more this year in taxes if the city is faced with a 4.6% increase to maintain service at existing levels.
A report at Monday’s council meeting from the finance department shows a levy increase of almost 5 percent as a result of decreased funding levels and $2 million used from surplus to bring down the 2014 budget to a zero increase last Spring.
The numbers presented do not include any surplus from 2014 – a small surplus is expected once the 2014 audit is complete. Finance staff are recommending to council not to use any surplus from 2014 to hold the line on taxes this year. The preliminary budget does not include any monies from Casino proceeds, up to now those monies were directed to the Sault Area Hospital, this year the Finance Dept. is eying that money for asset management.
Mayor Christian Provenzano noted that the preliminary budget still has a lot of changes and public information sessions would be held.
It should also be noted that collective agreements with Police and Fire departments were not included and could up the levy by the time council deliberates the budget and finalizes it in a special council meeting planned for April 20, 2015.