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(Posted 1:30 p.m., Oct. 23)
Draft city budget includes 1.9 per cent tax increase

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

City staff tabled the 2014 draft budget at city council earlier today, which among other things, calls for a 1.9 per cent tax increase.

The proposed increase is above the current rate of inflation, which is holding steady at 1.1. per cent, but it is well below Mayor Jim Watson's campaign promise of no tax increases above 2.5 per cent.

A 1.9 per cent tax increase equates to an additional $62 a year for the average urban homeowner or just over $5 a month.

At first glance, Watson said he was pleased with the draft document and the proposed tax increase and staff recommendations.

"We feel comfortable that we're providing the dollars necessary to keep the organization running, to increase our commitment to both our reserve funds and basic lifecycle maintenance and to ensure we have enough money in the growth areas so when we bring a new facility on, we can actually staff it," Watson said

In order to keep the tax increase below two per cent, the draft budget calls for a reductions of 55 full-time positions through vacancies.

Among other things, the draft budget calls for a freeze in the garbage fee at $82 per household; maintain the freeze on the Mayor’s salary; and administrative budgets for the Mayor and members of council; and maintain the freeze on parks and rec fees for a fourth straight year.

The draft budget also includes a further $45 million infusion of the road resurfacing budget. a total investment of $359.2 million in capital projects to maintain, renew and protect the city's infrastructure asserts. There is also money to continue the city's support of arts and culture through an additional investment of $500,000 in the Arts, Heritage and Culture Plan.

Further details will be released during the budget deliberations process,

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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