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The exterior of Saint John City Hall is pictured in this file photo. Image: staff photo

Saint John Council Approves $177M Budget

By Brad Perry Dec 13, 2022 | 7:11 AM

After several lengthy discussions, Saint John council has unanimously approved its 2023 operating budget.

The final approval of the $177-million budget came Monday night during the final regular council meeting of 2022.

Expenditures are up $12.6 million, or 7.6 per cent, compared to the 2022 budget, according to city staff.

“This budget, with all of our tough discussions, is moving Saint John forward,” said Coun. Gary Sullivan, who chairs the city’s finance committee.

“I don’t think everybody is happy but I don’t think anybody is unhappy, and that’s a bit of a signal that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Council voted to reduce the residential property tax rate by nine cents to $1.62 per $100 of assessed value.

But residents will still be paying about 6.32 per cent more in property taxes due to higher provincial assessments.

“That concern is still with me, especially given all of the other pressures that residents have in Saint John,” said Sullivan.

“But I also understand that the many plans that we have in place to improve the quality of life, to recruit and retain our residents need to be funded, and we haven’t had the opportunity over the past few years to do that.”

While the city’s residential tax rate will drop, the non-residential and heavy industry tax rate will increase by nearly 19 cents to $2.754. Given more leeway from the province, the city has chosen to increase the multiplier to 1.7 from 1.5.

But with the province reducing its tax rate on these properties by 33 cents, non-residential and heavy industry will see their overall tax rate drop by just over 14 cents.

Sullivan said while residential growth has been strong in Saint John over the past year, there is a “discrepancy” in the growth of non-residential properties, noting the city is “well behind” the cities of Fredericton and Moncton.

In the new year, finance committee members will be bringing a recommendation “to address the sliders and tax classes so we can keep moving forward toward more tax fairness,” he said.

Sullivan said the budget — a mixture of ongoing resources and one-year investments — will help move the city forward.

Some of the “service enhancements” listed include setting aside $3 million in reserves for a future new recreation facility, hiring five new casuals to reinstate grass cutting, implementing the affordable housing action plan, and funding for the north end neighbourhood plan, the City Market strategic plan, and a parking study.

You can find more details on the budget by clicking here.


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