On June 20, 2023, Council provided direction to staff for the development of the 2024-2025 Operating and 2024-2027 Capital Budget. Staff will follow these directions to prepare the proposed budget, which will be presented to Council for consideration in Q4 2023.
Operating Budget Direction
Staff were directed to prepare a 2024-2025 Business Plan for all tax supported services which considers:
- The cost of providing provincially mandated and cost shared programs;
- The cost of delivering current services at current service levels;
- The cost associated with growth in infrastructure that is operated and maintained by the City;
- A capital budget that reflects a level of investment which aligns with the “base scenario” described in the long-term financial plan plus a special capital levy for accelerated road asset renewal equivalent to 1.5% of the net levy in each year of the four year capital plan;
- An estimate of assessment growth; and
- Recommendations for changes to service levels and/or non-tax revenues so that the level of taxation in 2024 and 2025 produces no more than an average annual 4.7% property tax increase, in accordance with the long-term financial plan, and that business cases be prepared that present options for potential service adjustments or non-tax revenue changes such that the 2024-2025 net levy is further reduced by 0.8%.
Capital Budget Direction
Staff were directed to develop the 2024-2027 Capital Budget based on an assessment of the community's highest priority needs consistent with the application of prioritization criteria that considers:
- Financial affordability;
- Financial commitments and workload requirements in future periods for multi-year projects;
- The impact on operating costs associated with new projects;
- The probability and potential consequences of asset failure; and
- The financial cost and potential service impacts of deferring projects.
Water and Wastewater Rates Direction
Staff were directed to prepare a 2024-2025 Business Plan for Water and Wastewater Services that includes:
- The cost of maintaining current approved programs at current service levels based on anticipated production volumes;
- The cost associated with legislative changes and requirements;
- The cost associated with growth in infrastructure operated and maintained by the City;
- A reasonable estimate of water consumption; and
- A rate increase not to exceed 4.8%, consistent with the Water and Wastewater Long-Range Financial Plan approved by the Finance and Administration Committee on June 4, 2019.
User Fees Direction
Staff were directed to provide recommendations for changes to 2024-2025 user fees for property tax-supported services that reflect:
- The full cost of providing the program or services including capital assets, net of any subsidy approved by Council;
- Increased reliance on non-tax revenue; and
- Development of new fees for municipal services currently funded by the tax levy.
Business Case (Service Level Changes) Direction
Staff were directed to present any service enhancements, changes in services, or new service proposals as Business Cases for consideration by the Finance and Administration Committee on a case-by-case basis, subject to the following conditions;
- All businesses cases must be approved by resolution of the Finance and Administration Committee to be incorporated into the 2024-2025 Budget Document; and
- Any business case with a value of $100,000 or less be incorporated into the base budget where the Executive Leadership Team supports the change, with a summary of such changes disclosed to the Finance and Administration Committee in the Budget Document;
Service Partner Budget Direction
Council requested that Service Partners (Greater Sudbury Police Services, Nickel District Conservation Authority, Greater Sudbury Public Library Board, Public Health Sudbury & Districts) each follows the same 2024-2025 Budget directions approved for the City of Greater Sudbury’s municipal services when preparing their 2024 and 2025 municipal funding requests.
Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Direction
Staff were directed to include an annual amount equal to 0.5 per cent of the 2023 tax levy as a contribution to the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve to improve reserve balances and reduce risk of cost fluctuations from implementing a multi-year budget.