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Revised municipal tax levy sitting at 5.48%

By CJ Goater Jan 31, 2024 | 7:05 AM

Thunder Bay City Council - Acadia Broadcasting File

Thunder Bay’s 2024 budget review officially got underway at the Tuesday evening city council meeting.

Leading up to the meeting the proposed budget had been made available to the public and the municipal tax levy after growth was sitting at 5.5% which is in line with the budget direction provided by city council.

The meeting kicked off with eight budget amendments that were all approved and provided the first changes to the budget and municipal tax levy.

The total financial impact of the changes has resulted in a decrease of 0.17% to the municipal tax levy, and a revised municipal tax levy before growth, of 5.92%. With the revised 2023 growth factor included, the municipal tax levy increase, after growth, is now sitting at 5.48%.

The biggest change to the levy at the inaugural budget review meeting was updating 2023’s growth figures in the proposed budget.

When determining the 2024 proposed budget administration used 2022’s growth estimate and it came out at $1,241,200. The final 2023 growth figure was $969,900, which was $271,300 less than the amount considered in council’s budget direction of a 5.5% tax levy increase net of growth.

To offset potential impacts to taxpayers council approved a reduction of $250,000 of the transfer to the Stabilization Reserve resulting in a decrease of 0.11% to the municipal tax levy.

The next change saw the municipal tax levy decrease by 0.03%.

The city of Thunder Bay’s share of the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board tax levy was calculated at $17,753,500, which is $61,000 less than the amount included in the 2024 proposed budget. To correct the issue council approved a reduction of $61,000 from the 2024 District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board levy.

The financial benefits of the closure of eight outdoor ice rinks were also added to the budget. City council has adjusted the proposed budget to include the savings gained from the closure of the rinks. The closures will reduce the parks and open spaces 2024 proposed budget by $73,000. This change lowered the municipal tax levy by 0.03%.

The only increase to the municipal tax levy had no material impact on the tax levy increase.

A partial rink grant of $4,500 was approved for both the Oliver Road Recreation Association and Current River Recreation Association. The organizations running the centres have agreed to operate the rink themselves and the money is being used to assist them in doing so as the city will no longer have to operate the sites.

The following changes did not affect the municipal tax levy:

A missing piece of the 2024 proposed budget has now been added by council. Council had previously directed administration to include annual contributions of $150,000 to the TBCA Capital Reserve Fund, in the 2024 to 2027 budgets, for council consideration. This has now been added and financed by a transfer from the Capital General Reserve Fund.

Council approved the increase of Municipal Accommodation Tax Revenue by $100,000 in the budget, resulting in $50,000 being transferred to the Municipal Accommodation Tax Reserve Fund. The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission’s portion of the Municipal Accommodation Tax collected by the city was also increased by $50,000.

The Canada Community Building Fund grant revenue has been decreased by $298,200 in the budget. $298,200 will be transferred from the Capital General Reserve Fund to support the 2024 tax-supported capital budget.

In December council approved two temporary full-time equivalent staff to be added to city staff to support work involving the housing accelerator fund. To include the expenditure and financing in the 2024 proposed budget council has approved an increase of $200,000 to the personnel services within the development services budget with up to $200,000 set to be transferred from the Land Development Account to support the positions.

After the amendments were approved the meeting moved to budget recaps from outside boards and tax-supported departments.

The following budgets were looked at:

  • The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
  • Lakehead Region Conservation Authority Overview
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit Overview
  • Thunder Bay Police Services Board Budget
  • Thunder Bay Police Service
  • Thunder Bay Public Library
  • Victoriaville Centre Overview
  • Victoria Avenue BIA Overview
  • Waterfront District BIA
  • Mayor’s Office
  • City Council

Budget review will continue on Thursday at 5 p.m.