The making of a municipal budget
Peterborough City Council has lowered the proposed tax guideline for the 2020 budget. After a meeting of the finance committee earlier this week, the guideline was lowered from the 2.84% recommended by staff to 2.34%.
Councillor Henry Clarke made the proposal by suggesting to eliminate raising $856,000 through taxation for the city’s capital program. He said the City will still have options to realize that money through the PDI sale and casino revenues.
From a business perspective, council is continuing to move forward on completing the Tax Ratio
Reduction Program started in 2009. The program doesn’t impact the overall levy requirement and helps keep Peterborough businesses in a competitive tax position compared to other Ontario communities.
Also in the guideline is the impact of the federal carbon tax and provincial funding changes. There will be challenges on a number of fronts.
On its own the federal carbon tax on fuel and natural gas adds another $500,000 to the budget by 2022. There are electric vehicle programs in place through federal and provincial governments, but what are the realities around a fully electric fleet? Would there be a net savings?
Provincial funding is expected to change in 2020 and staff say it would add $2.3 million to the 2020 budget.
The City is going through a different budget process this year that has involved more public engagement as staff builds the guideline document.
"Kudos to staff and council for getting out in front of the budget, and for engaging the taxpayer in the process," says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. "Both time and input will yield better budgets."
Part of the engagement so far has included a survey that yielded interesting results. The City received 996 survey responses to the 2020 Budget Survey. Those respondents were asked to rank community issues. Here are the top five:
So, at the end of the day, where do the bulk of residential tax dollars go?
Here are the Top 6 for 2019:
The budget process officially begins in the fall with approval set for the December 9th council meeting.
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