North Bay City Council unanimously passed a 3.08 percent increase for water and sewer rates Monday night.
Despite intense negotiations to keep costs down, councillors decided to go ahead with the increase in order to maintain the system and upgrades at a reasonable level and not burden taxpayers with a larger increase down the road.
With this year’s operating budget earmarked at 14 million dollars, numerous planned replacements and upgrades are on schedule throughout the city.
The decision presented many concerns to council, whom, it seems, has been having a difficult time reining in costs and balancing budgets in a year that saw slow employment growth happening within the city.
Deputy Mayor Sean Lawlor did point out that the water and sewer rate increase was smaller than the planned 6 percent increase, with council finding ways to hold off on some work to save the city almost $600,000.
“I was hopeful that we’d be able to achieve some more savings,” says Lawlor, referring to numerous proposed budget reductions being bounced back and forth weeks prior but ultimately, deposed.
While an annual capital budget of 50 million dollars has been tabled to go ahead in 2013 by council, increases to property taxes remain a concern for many residents.
The breakdown is basically 22.8 million in general capital budget, 12 million for the Memorial Garden’s upgrades and a further 14 million for water and sewer, rounding off near the 50 million mark.
However, some confusion remains with Deputy Mayor Lawlor stating the Capital Budget is 31 million, with over 3 million additional in this year going towards the Gardens and, again the 14 million dollar figure for water and sewer.
Your mileage may vary, but by most indications, the year ahead will see modest increases to the cost of residing in an average city home, perhaps while these assets remain flat or perhaps, even decline in value.
The common concept that taxes are offset by the increase asset value of your home may not hold true in the coming year