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City budget moving to council with 3.97 per cent levy increase

If, as expected, the budget is passed in early April, tax bills will go up $41.39 per $100,000 of assessment. If your home is assessed at $300,000, your 2024 tax bill will go up three times $41.39 (per $100K of assessment) for an increase of $124.17
View from the Mayor's Boardroom on the fifth floor of City Hall, where budget deliberations took place. The budget has the support to be passed on April 2 in North Bay City Council Chambers (pictured).

After multiple weeks of marathon budget sessions, the majority of North Bay City Council supports moving forward with a 2024 overall budget that includes an overall tax levy of approximately $110 million, with an overall increase of $4.3 million or 3.97 per cent over the 2023 levy of $105.7 million.

In 2023, the levy increased by 4.61 per cent over 2022.

In 2022, the levy increased by 4.27 per cent over 2021.

The budget process opened with a 4.76 per cent levy increase on the table. The final figures are still being calculated due to decisions made during Wednesday evening's budget meeting but this version of the 2024 budget will move forward for a vote during an April 2 special meeting of council.

The annual tax bill for individual properties is dependent on assessed value and the tax rate, which will be set by council at a future date. Using the estimated tax rate after growth provided by the finance department, the estimated taxpayer impact in 2024 is a 2.74 per cent increase in tax bills. The forecasted change per $100,000 in the assessment of your home is $41.39 for the year. So, if your home is assessed at $300,000, your tax bill will go up three times $41.39 (per $100K of assessment) for an increase of $124.17.

Councillor Tanya Vrebosch voted against moving the budget forward while Coun. Gary Gardiner was absent. Vrebosch, a former budget chief, expressed her frustrations about the budget process as she attempted to present initiatives involving community safety and to learn from the staff about how funding was allocated in various operating and capital applications. Vrebosch asked hard questions of council members and staff about topics that didn't always have a simple explanation. Often, the conversations broke down as the staff's attempts to answer her questions were found by the councillor to be unsatisfactory.

See: BUDGET: Council buoys hopes of again staffing 3 beaches

Notable service level changes that received support from council members include $20,000 in funding for lifeguards; $915,000 through the use of reserves for 2024–25 for North Bay's centennial celebration, including a grant program to foster community involvement; $100,000 to extend the downtown and area Peer Outreach and Security Team program; a new coating for the Bourke Playground pickleball courts and introduction of user fees; and, software to aid in enforcing the short-term rental by-law.

The implementation of a recycling program for municipal parks and the waterfront, the downtown business area, arenas, city hall and parking facilities also made the final budget. The program is expected to cost approximately $52,000 to operate for the final six months of the year.

See: BUDGET: Transit fare hike will boost annual revenue by $110K

North Bay Transit fares will go up, pending a public meeting, if the budget is approved. The $0.25 fare jump would go into effect on July 1.

See also: DNSSAB achieves goal to keep levy increase below 3 per cent

And: Police Board Chair believes 6.22% budget increase very reasonable

Upon approval, the budget will maintain municipal service levels and provides continued support to partners including the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board, North Bay Police Service, North Bay Public Library, Capitol Centre, Cassellholme, North Bay Jack Garland Airport and North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority.

For draft copies, reports, and documents about the combined 2024 operating and capital budget, click here. For more on the 2024 water and wastewater operating budget that has already been passed by council, click here.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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