2019 Budget Increases Funds for Roads and Enhances Services for Resident Quality of Life
Feb 22, 2019
Following deliberations by the Finance and Administration Committee on February 19, 20 and 21, City Council has approved the 2019 Budget with increased investments in year-round road maintenance, transit, economic development, customer service, the arts and more.
Council approved a budget with a 3.6 per cent tax increase. For a typical home assessed at $230,000, this means approximately $105 more than 2018 taxes, or an additional $9 monthly. A user fee increase of 7.4 per cent for water/wastewater was also approved. This amounts to $7.35 more per month for the average homeowner who uses 200 cubic metres of water per year.
“The 2019 Budget demonstrates City Council’s ongoing commitment to balancing the needs of our community and affordability for taxpayers,” said City of Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “We are making strategic investments in roads and other infrastructure, enhancing city services such as transit and improving quality of life. I want to thank members of the public who provided their feedback and members of Council and city staff for the hard work throughout the budget process.”
The approved budget contains a number of enhancements and also maintains the same services and service levels as 2018, adjusted for contractual obligations, legislation, and assumptions for utilities, to name a few.
2019 Operating Budget
The 2019 Operating Budget is $593 million, which includes the following service level enhancements to improve quality of life for residents:
- Higher transit service levels include expanded Sunday and early morning operating hours. Along with changes to the fare structure and planned route changes taking effect later this year, Council signals its strong support for regular transit users and its desire to increase ridership, improve access to low income residents, and promote environmentally friendly and healthy transportation options to the community.
- More summer road maintenance activities including $0.5 million for arterial and rural roads that enhance user quality and safety, and an additional $1 million for winter control services to reflect the importance of this service to the community ($17 million in 2018 to 18.5 million in 2019).
- Extended operating hours for 311 to improve customer service, and align with the Customer Service Strategy adopted by City Council in 2018.
- Approval of the financing plan for the development of The Junction, (Library/Art Gallery and the Greater Sudbury Convention/Performance Centre) to promote arts and culture in the community, invest in the downtown and improve quality of life for residents.
- An investment of $560,000 in 2019 and an annual $460,000 investment in Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) for the next nine years will stimulate economic development, growth and revitalization in downtown Sudbury through incentives for businesses. This compliments several other town centre CIP projects already in progress or complete in surrounding communities, such as the Capreol Waterfront improvements.
- An operating grant of $150,000 will enable Place des arts to fund staff and administrative costs associated with moving forward with the building of their facility, further strengthening Council’s support of arts and culture and its importance to the economic health and quality of life of our community.
2019 Capital Budget
The $120.5 million capital budget ensures the best investment choices are made by ranking projects based on standard criteria and moving forward with the highest priorities. Of this $120.5 million, $40.5 million is funded by property taxes, $30.9 million is funded by water/wastewater user fees while the remainder comes from funding by other levels of government, reserve funds, third party recoveries and external debt financing.
Highlights of the 2019 capital budget include significant investments in roads, recreation and other infrastructure:
- $46.6 million invested in road construction, including funding for the Maley Drive Extension Project and Municipal Road 35.
- $15.6 million for several bridge and culvert rehabilitation projects throughout the community.
- $4.3 million for recreation assets, including upgrades to the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre and the Dowling Leisure Centre.
- $3.2 million for projects at the Azilda and Sudbury landfill sites to enable the City to responsibly dispose and divert waste, and protect the environment around the sites.
As part of the City’s commitment to road infrastructure renewal, an additional $3.9 million investment is being made to address both arterial and rural road quality improvements. This investment is funded through an amendment to the budget to remove the water/wastewater fire protection levy from the tax base, and the use of funds from cancelled capital projects. Road improvements will include large spreader laid patching and surface treatment to address areas prone to ongoing pothole and asphalt issues.
“With the 2019 Budget, Council established service levels and expectations for transformative projects that staff will be proud to produce, and that will provide lasting, positive results for our community,” said City of Greater Sudbury Chief Administrative Officer Ed Archer. “This is a sustainable, affordable plan with long-term benefits for residents.”
The 7.4 % water/wastewater user rate increase is in accordance with the long-term financial plan for the service. It will be applied to asset investment requirements for the water/wastewater system, and to ensure long-term sustainability.
The Province of Ontario requires all municipalities to collect the full cost of water and wastewater services directly from end users. A significant portion of these rates, as with any other municipality, is directed to long-term asset management considerations.
The City has approximately 48,000 water/wastewater customers, and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of 1,800 km of water and wastewater mains. The City’s biosolids facility, 12 wastewater treatment facilities, two water treatment facilities, 23 water supply wells, 69 sewage lift stations, 12 pumping (booster) stations and nine water storage facilities are critical in the delivery of clean drinking water to residents, and the safe and environmentally responsible disposal of wastewater.
Visit www.greatersudbury.ca/budget for more information on the 2019 budget.