With property tax increases yet to be determined, all three cities in the region are holding budget talks today.
Dan Chapman, Kitchener’s Deputy C.A.O. of Finance and Corporate services, tells 570 News the purpose of their meeting is to present the budget and start the discussion. He says reductions in Kitchener’s proposed operating budget will affect all areas of the city. “They could represent fee increases or reductions in programs like summer camps or grants for neighbourhood association programs. But also capital expenditures like reductions to our sidewalk infill capital program,” says Chapman. A one per cent increase in property taxes equals about $10 for the average household. So, Chapman says as it stands now, there is the potential for an increase of $20 to $40 for the city’s share of property taxes in 2012.
Chapman says what it really comes down to is balancing affordability with the public’s expectations for services. “This budget reflects a base increase of 2.9 per cent, plus an extra one per cent for the second last year of the economic development investment fund. So, we’re heading into 3.9 per cent which is a bit higher than inflation.” However, Chapman says council has also asked for reductions of up to two per cent to compensate.
Today’s meeting will be followed by a public meeting in January, with final deliberations on January the 19th.
In Cambridge, city council studies the proposed 2012 water and waste water operating budgets, while in Waterloo, the proposed city budget for 2012 will be made public.