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City’s proposed budget released with a tax levy after growth increase of 5.5%

By CJ Goater Jan 19, 2024 | 3:27 PM

Thunder Bay Sign -Acadia Broadcasting Files

The proposed 2024 Municipal Budget has been released.

The Municipal Tax Levy required to support the 2024 proposed Budget is $231.7 million ($211.5 million Operating, $20.2 million Capital), an increase of $13.3 million or 6.1% compared to the previous year. After factoring in assessment growth, the net impact is 5.5%, which is in line with the budget direction provided by city council on July 24, 2023.

These numbers serve as a starting point for city council’s review. The budget is not finalized as council needs to hear the results of public consultation and debate the numbers before approving and ratifying the budget.

“The budget is now in city council’s hands, they are able to make motions, and propose surface-level changes, reductions or expansions. If they would like to revisit some of those reductions then absolutely they can.” said Keri Greaves, City Treasurer.

“This is the second budget that City Council will consider, developed in a post-Covid environment of high inflation, worldwide instability, and changing consumer and citizen behaviour. With this proposed budget we are maintaining programs and services and responding as best we can to external and internal pressures. Those pressures felt by residents are also felt by the Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay,” said City Manager Norm Gale. “This budget meets city council’s mandate. It took a lot of work by many people to put this budget together, and I thank everyone involved. We now put this proposed budget to city council for their direction.”

The proposed operating budget maintains core services while navigating fiscal, social, and legislative challenges.

Significant Operating Budget Impactors can be found below:

Favourable impacts to the tax levy include:

  • Organizational realignment and service level reduction – $2.6 million
  • User fees increases – $1.2 million
  • Other revenue increases – $2.5 million
  •  Insurance premium decrease – $0.8 million
  • Commencement of interest payments from Synergy North Corporation ($0.8
  • Increase in other revenue including administrative recoveries and Casino
    revenue ($0.5 million).
  • Increased in Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund allocation ($0.2 million).

Unfavourable impacts to the tax levy include:

  •  Community Partner increases – $4.1 million
  • Thunder Bay Police Service budget request – 2.3 Million
  • Inflationary pressures and supply chain constraints – $1.1 million
  • Continued implementation of Program & Service Review recommendations and other expansions – $1.7 million

The proposed 2024 Capital financed by the tax levy budget of $20.2 million represents an increase of $1.9 million over 2023 levels.

Before the budget is finalized there will be a long-term financial overview presentation at city council on January 23, a Q & A session at Victoria Inn on January 25, and council budget review meetings on January 30, February 1, 5, 6, 7, before the budget is ratified on February 12.