Sault Ste. Marie ratepayers will see their municipal tax bill go up 1.89 percent this year, for the average home assessed at $165,700, that means an additional $49 a year blended with the education taxes.
Council deliberated the budget Monday night in a five hour session whittling away about $600,000 in savings from the proposed budget hike of 2.2 percent.
Councillor Frank Fata, Ward five was the only member who voted against the hike.
Council was able to reduce the levy with help from a $3.5 million surplus – something the finance department warned wouldn’t be there next year.
Council did find money for a few extra items such as the treatment for the Emerald Ash trees on Queen Street in the downtown area at a cost of $15,000, and to support the Healthy Kids Community Challenge at $50,000 while no support for a funding request for Crime Stoppers or the Museum ship, Norgoma.
The increase in your tax bill however pales in comparison to your hydro bills starting May 1.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced new time-of-use pricing Monday that jacks up the peak rate to 16.1 cents kWh from 14 cents kWh, effective May 1.
Households will see a $5.71 or 4.6% jump in their monthly hydro bill based on the new pricing, the OEB says, that translates to about $72 a year more than last year.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said the new on-peak/off-peak rate differential should encourage conservation which ultimately helps keep bills down.
Consumers may get a little bit of relief come January 1, 2016 when the hated Debt Retirement Charge is dropped , however at the same time the 10% savings from the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit will also disappear.