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

Saint John begins 2024 budget process

By Brad Perry Jul 5, 2023 | 5:59 AM

Saint John city staff have started putting together next year’s operating budget.

Staff gave an overview of the process to members of the finance committee last week.

Craig Lavigne, the city’s comptroller, said the draft budget is largely based on 2023 service levels.

“There are several unknowns as it comes to this first draft budget, but one common theme is the impact inflation is having on all service areas,” Lavigne told committee members.

The draft 2024 operating budget currently stands at $184.4 million, up from $177.2 million this year.

Lavigne said there are a number of assumptions, including a property tax rate growth of 3.35 per cent — a figure that will not be finalized until later this year.

The city anticipates its unconditional grant from the province will be reduced by $500,000 due to the loss of core funding.

It is also expected that the city will not receive another Regional Service Commission grant as it did in 2023, which amounted to $546,000.

Staff have also earmarked an extra $1 million in revenue from a new potential recycling program.

Lavigne said there are also a number of unknowns, such as budgets from the Fundy Regional Service Commission, the impact of the City Market Strategic Plan, and recreational subsidization review.

Committee members began receiving budget presentations from service areas last week and will hear from the remaining service areas in August.

Service-based budget presentations will take place in September and the committee will receive the draft operating budget in October.

Committee members will approve the budget in late October or early November, followed by council approval in November or December.

Feedback is being sought through the Shape Your City Saint John website until July 15.

Residents can share their spending priorities and what level of funding should be directed to maintain, increase or decrease service levels within the city.


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