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Tax Levy Increase Down To 4.48%

By Adam Riley Feb 1, 2023 | 6:08 AM

Thunder Bay city council completed its final budget review meeting shortly before 3 o’clock this morning.

In it council debated the cuts and received clarification on topics from the city.

Then City Manager Norm Gale unveiled the big cut of one-point-three million dollars in Corporate Savings, however, this option did come with a dire warning that the cuts would be permanent.

“This is reshaping the corporation, this changing service levels, this is doing things differently…it is not status quo.”

Council later settled on a $500,000 reduction instead, as well as voting in favour of a motion from At – Large Councillor Trevor Giertuga to take $1 million from the vested property rehabilitation reserve fund.

Well a lot of you when you filed your nomination papers, kind of had an idea of what it might look like when it actually hits the fan, so tonight its actually hit the fan. – Mayor Ken Boshcoff

In his remarks Boshcoff noted this is what the entirety of the council was elected to do, to deal with the toughest problem facing the community, which is being able to finance proper infrastructure and the services people want.

“So there’s two ways of lookin’ at it,” he said. “We can raise taxes or make the cuts that we’ve been approaching tonight.”

He adds council might be able to make this year but the situation is not going to get better.

Discussions also returned to the cost of policing within the city, which council did have the option to return the budget proposal to the police and the police services board for review and to search for reductions, however that course of action could add a week to the budget process.

At – Large Councillor Shelby Ch’ng, who sits on the police services board, lay bare the facts of doing that which she says would involve the board’s administrator, Malcolm Mercer, sending the proposal over to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission in a “heartbeat”.

“I don’t think its going to serve us well to entertain this, I mean I get the sentiment, I don’t want to spend any more on police than I have to, we are really, really in a tough spot, and its bad. I can’t stress how bad this is.”

Before entering recess the tax levy increase now sits at 4.48%, just higher than the 4% overall that council set out to accomplish on January 17th, but still a commendable effort according to Giertuga.

I think we’ve done a great job, we’re at 4.5 percent, wasn’t quite the four we were looking for but we’re close. In a anomaly year I think we’ve done a good job and I’d like to congratulate all of council.

Council will now recess until Thursday, when they will hear from the public at a post-budget deputation meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. before making a final ratification vote on February 6th.


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