Homeowners will see a big jump on their tax bills for 2019. Sault Ste. Marie City Council finalized the 2019 budget Tuesday night.
Council passed the budget with an overall increase of 3.53 per cent. The total levy will be $114,995,220 for an increase of 2.55 percent along with outside agencies adding 0.99 percent for the total of 3.53 percent.
Two councillors opposed the budget, Ward 5 Councillor Matthew Scott and Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Shoemaker – both believed the increase was too steep for ratepayers.
Mayor Christian Provenzano called the budget “a responsible balance”.
The single largest increase went to Transit funding, to bring their funding up to other municipalities.
City transit will return to half-hour service over the summer months with an increased budget of $300,000 .
Not all outside agencies got their wish, the Ermatinger-Clergue Old Stone House recieved only $13,000, half of what it was seeking to employ additional part time staff, while the Sault Ste. Marie Library saw it’s request chopped by $129,000.
The City’s new popular skating trail at Clergue Park was approved for another year at the cost of $36,300.
Despite Council saying local roads are in disrepair, council did not approve an additional $500,000 for road maintenance and resurfacing.
Last evening, City Council approved the 2019 Budget, focusing on strengthening core municipal services and long-term affordability. Council approved an increase in the corporate portion of the municipal levy of 2.55%. The budget maintains Council’s commitment to being the leading innovative, dynamic and efficient municipal corporation in the province of Ontario.
In embracing its future with a strategic direction, this budget affords the opportunity to
champion economic and community development by:
- Maintaining existing infrastructure and renewing buildings, roads and parks
- Investing $24 million into reconstructing City roads
- $4 million investment in transit capital improvements as well as $300,000 into Transit Service improvements enabling summer service hours to be consistent with the
remainder of the year
- Implementing FutureSSM with the allocation of $500,000 for growth related projects including investment in development opportunities, focusing on downtown infrastructure and enabling the City to achieve its strategic goals with dedicated funding.
- Continuing to implement the Fire Services Master Plan
- Dedicating resources into enhancing the City’s Information Technology
- Investing in the Mayor’s Bawating Advisory Council to continue strengthening relations with Indigenous partners
“City staff has worked hard to find efficiencies across the entire organization,” said Al Horsman, CAO. “Our goal is to strengthen our core municipal services to residents and deliver on Council priorities that enhance the lives of residents and our city’s future. We are proud of the 2019 budget we presented to Council and look forward to working with them to implement the priorities.”
Input into the 2019 budget was gathered in a number of ways. An online tool was created
which allowed residents the opportunity to indicate the areas where they would like to see
their tax dollars utilized. A public open house was held where members of the community were able to meet with staff and Council to provide input into the budget. A social media campaign entitled ‘That’s Quality’ was launched highlighting the quality services that are provided using #saultbudget. Residents also submitted feedback by emailing email@example.com and calling the City’s Finance Department.
“As we prepare to enter into a new budget year, I am confident that we will continue to
manage municipal finances in a responsible and prudent manner implementing best practices to ensure great value in service delivery for our residents,” adds Horsman. “We appreciate all the suggestions and comments we received throughout this budget process and thank our community for their ongoing support.”