Council passes 2014 operating budgetMonday, January 06, 2014 by: Jamie Lyle
City Council saw a busy evening following the record snow accumulation on Monday evening, with the passing of this year's operating budget taking centre stage.
Council first received a presentation from Heritage North Bay and their yearly report regarding the museum, as well as the gardens that they operate and maintain for the city.
Citing last year as a successful year, the organization did not turn a profit but hopes to continue improve the lifestyle and culture of North Bay with the help of the city's parks and recreation department, as well as with the assistance from their many volunteers.
As well, representatives from the North Bay Ringette Association came to council chambers, thanking the city for their participation in the World championships that were recently held within the city.
Mayor Al McDonald got into the spirit as he donned a signed team jersey for the remainder of council.
A highlight of the first yearly regular meeting was a presentation, or rather, an exchange between council and a member of the North Bay Taxpayer's Association, who called into question the city's formulations and calculations of this year's tax levy increases.
The discussion quickly heated up, with some councillors seemingly taking offence to the implications that they were doing anything besides representing the taxpayers to their best ability.
The 2014 operating budget passed, although not unanimously, with councillor Mike Anthony being the sole standout of the nine councillors, citing the fact that he does not believe this year's process was fair and that the ability to pay just is not there for many taxpayers.
The final number, a 1.57% increase, was hailed by council as being the lowest budget increase in 13 years, however, with the Garden's totals and a reformulation of education taxes and assessments still in the works, it would be difficult to budget that number accurately onto anyone's previous bill just yet.
The final motion of the evening saw the implementation of a new North Bay City Councillor.
The tenth seat on council, sitting vacant for a number of months, is now officially filled by Mark King, who will begin his duties starting on January 20th.
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