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Council Moves Closer To 4% Levy Goal

By Adam Riley Jan 21, 2023 | 2:30 AM

Thunder Bay city council is continuing its work along side city staff on the 2023 city budget.

Members put the leadership of the Community Economic Development Agency, Community Services, Development and Emergency Services, including Superior North EMS and Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, and the Parking Authority.

On Tuesday council voted in favour of working down to 4% tax levy increase, which is not set in stone.

In a frank question to staff Current River Councillor Andrew Foulds asked if a 4% increase comes into effect, what service delivery would look like, to which City Manager Norm Gale noted repercussions would be felt across the corporation.

“Where we target things will mean slower response times, less resources dedicated to work that does not decrease, in fact it only increases especially when you relate it to public demand. So its corporate wide problem that will impact development.”

It is being recommended by staff, that the CEDC have its Operating budget decreased by $48,500.

CEO Jamie Taylor says they recognize the pressures the city is under.

“Although we want to promote growth and we feel that our budget that we presented is how we are going to get there, we will be having a discussion with our board  in terms of what more potentially we can do. But investment in economic development is something that needs to be consistent.”

Taylor notes a potential for a great boom and the CEDC wants to make sure the community is positioned properly.

One of the items the CEDC has on its budget this year is a new FTE for a marketing coordinator position.

Some on council, including Mayor Ken Boshcoff who is taking issue with new hires, asked if the agency could handle the position with its current staff complement of 18, which Taylor disagreed, noting the CEDC hasn’t asked for a new position in several years.

A marketing campaign she say’s can cost $30 to 50k per year, but this role would allow the CEDC to quickly handle the campaign in house.

Council ended up voting in favour of the recommendation by staff.

As of the end of Thursday’s meeting city staff informed council the pre-growth tax levy increase was 6.58% and 5.98% post growth, which spawned a remark from Vice-Chair Zussino, “It’s like a telethon, eh?”

Two more budget review meetings are set to take place on the 25th and 31st.


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