“It’s a very responsible budget,” Mayor Christian Provenzano
Cities are having a hard time capping their budget increases to the inflation rate. The Sault 2020 budget increased at almost twice inflation. At first glance, the property tax increase of 3.63% seems high compared to other government increases in the Ontario news.
The Ford government capped public services workers’ salary increases to 1% per year. Presently, Ford wants the teachers to accept a 1% increase. However, the teachers’ unions want 2% and it’s a stalemate. Budget pressures affect all levels of government.
Is the Sault’s 3.63% property tax increase unreasonable compared to other cities?
Don’t ask the people in Calgary. Their property tax hike of 7.51% is the biggest of any medium or large city. The Sault’s is less than half that.
Greater Sudbury’s property taxes increased by 4.8%. Thunder Bay’s proposed 2.32% increase hasn’t passed through council and most likely will increase. Sault’s increase is between Sudbury and Thunder Bay.
Peterborough’s population size compares to the Sault. They keep adjusting the 2020 property tax higher. The projected property tax increase sits at 2.75% after three successive increases at the last three City Council meetings.
London’s completing its 2020 budget. The target of a 2.7% increase that the mayor promised won’t happen. The present proposed rate is 3.2% but could rise to 4.5%.
Toronto Mayor John Tory campaigned on property tax hikes tied to the inflation rate. Using clever wording Tory achieved his goal of a 2% property tax increase. Except Tory added a 1.5% building levy and other “assessments” totalling another 0.74%. The real Toronto property tax increase is approximately 4.24%.
One major issue affecting city budgets is the downloading of some provincial services onto municipalities. The Ford government created the Audit and Accountability Fund (AAF) for municipalities and school boards to assess their services. The AAF’s purpose is to find efficiencies to help municipalities save money. KPMG presented the Municipal Services Report during the last council meeting which was paid for by the AAF.
Given the financial pressure put onto municipalities by the Ford government. Mayor Provenzano and Councillors created a responsible budget compared to other cities.