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Moncton City Hall. Image: Staff photo

Budget deliberations underway in Moncton

By Brad Perry Nov 7, 2023 | 2:47 PM

Most property owners in Moncton could see lower property tax rates in the new year.

City councillors spent the day Tuesday deliberating the proposed budgets for 2024.

The proposed $212-million general operating budget is up more than 12 per cent, or nearly $24 million, compared to 2023.

Staff suggested that council set the residential property tax rate at $1.4287 per $100 of assessment, a drop of 1.56 cents.

They also proposed that council hold the non-residential tax rate multiplier at 1.6360 for the second year. That means the non-residential tax rate would drop more than 2.5 cents to $2.3374 per $100 of assessment.

For residents living in the portion of the Moncton local service district that is now overseen by the city, their tax rate would climb five cents to 96.58 cents per $100 of assessment.

Jacques Doucet, general manager of finance services, said taxpayer affordability is one of their key considerations when creating a budget.

“For this year, one of the key challenges is the inflationary pressures and rising interest rates,” Doucet told councillors on Tuesday.

While Moncton’s assessment base has grown 12.2 per cent over the past year, significant inflation impacts are expected to cost the city around $7 million or $8 million more in 2024.

The city will once again be getting fewer dollars from the province of New Brunswick in 2024.

The equalization grant is dropping from $2.5 million down to $1.9 million and it is directly related to the local governance reform process. Core funding is being redirected to the Southeast Regional Service Commission.

Despite these challenges, Doucet said he thinks the city will be impressed with the overall budget.

“It’s a really positive budget. We think there’s going to be a lot of things that the community will be really proud of,” he said.

Some of the proposed included expanded transit services, three new positions for snow operations and street maintenance, and additional funding for PolarFest.

The budget also recommends the city hire four additional relief firefighters, convert casual positions at the Magnetic Hill Zoo to seven full-time equivalents, and invest an extra $500,000 to support ability transit services.

Meanwhile, the proposed 2024 water and sewer budget stands at more than $44.5 million, up from $41.3 million in 2023.

It includes a proposed two to three per cent increase in water and sewer rates to address inflationary pressures. Staff said the average family would pay an extra $29 next year.

Moncton plans to spend more than $61 million on capital projects in 2024. That includes $50.2 million for general capital projects, $5.1 million for sanitary sewer upgrades, and $5.7 million for water upgrades.

Council will vote on the final budget recommendations during a special public meeting on Thursday morning.