2020 Budget Emphasizes the Importance of Roads and Winter Control

Dec 17, 2019

Following deliberations by the Finance and Administration Committee on December 3, 4, 5, 9 and 16, City Council has approved the 2020 Budget with increased investments in road maintenance and renewal, winter control, water and wastewater infrastructure, recreation facility maintenance and improvements, landfill and diversion sites, and information technology projects and solutions. 

Council approved a budget with a 4.8 per cent tax increase. For a typical home assessed at $230,000, this means approximately $12 more a month than 2019 property taxes. The 4.8 per cent increase includes a 3.3 per cent increase for operational needs and a 1.5 per cent capital levy. 

“This budget reflects a significant investment into the future of our city,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “Your City Council has approved a plan that is focused on making important investments in health and safety, the downtown, community building, tourism and economic development, and the environment. This was an enormous undertaking and I'd like to thank staff, my fellow Councillors and everyone who helped with input and a lot of hard work to see this through.”

2020 Operating Budget

The 2020 Operating Budget is $619.5 million and includes costs to perform routine operations and deliver Council’s approved service levels. Approximately 47% of the operating budget is funded by property taxes.

  • $1.7 million increase in winter control including the replacement and maintenance of snow plow equipment
  • $900,000 increase in the summer roads maintenance including asphalt repair and stormwater management
  • Continued progress on asset management planning to ensure the reliability of current and future assets
  • Continued investment in the future of the Junction

2020 Capital Budget

The $172 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 $172 million, $43 million is funded by property taxes, $32.4 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. 

A special capital levy of 1.5% was approved to address infrastructure and asset renewal. A report will be presented to the Finance and Administration Committee recommending capital projects to be funded by this special levy.

Highlights of the 2020 capital budget include significant investments in roads, recreation and other infrastructure:

  • $86 million invested in roads and drains, including $811,000 toward the Hot In-Place Asphalt Recycling pilot project, and $39 million in water and wastewater infrastructure, making up more than 73 per cent of the capital budget 
  • $7.8 million to maintain and further improve GOVA services by accelerating the replacement of transit buses
  • $3.2 million investment in information technology projects and solutions to modernize customer transaction processes and improve customer service
  • $3.4 million investment in the replacement of Fire and Paramedic vehicles
  • $2.3 million in maintenance and improvements to leisure facilities including the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre and Dowling Leisure Centre
  • $1.4 million in landfill and waste diversion sites in Sudbury and Hanmer

“The 2020 Budget reflects plans that will achieve significant asset renewal while continuing to provide many important services,” said Ed Archer, Chief Administrative Officer. “It takes a lot of teamwork and collaboration to successfully produce a municipality’s budget. I thank Council for their leadership and our staff for their commitment throughout the budget development process.” 

Business Cases

The following business cases were funded from a variety of sources, including provincial funding/grants, reserves and the reallocation of dollars from deferred capital projects. 

  • $6.1 million to complete the City-wide conversion of street lights to LED
  • $257,000 for the Community Paramedicine Program, to be funded from the provincial cannabis funding and $104,000 from provincial grants
  • $226,000 to increase security at City facilities in the downtown core, to be funded from the provincial cannabis funding and a $50,000 contribution from the Downtown BIA
  • $227,000 toward the Valley East Twin Pad Arena, funded by reallocated capital dollars
  • $128,300 in continued funding for the Downtown Sudbury Community Improvement Plan
  • $106,400 increased funding for the Northern Ontario Railway Museum and Heritage Centre 
  • $91,800 toward additional lighting along the Junction Creek Waterway Park, funded by reallocated capital dollars and $90,300 from reserves.

Water/Wastewater Budget

The 4.8% water/wastewater user rate increase is in line with the long-term financial plan for the service. Municipal water and wastewater services are funded by end users as mandated by the province. There are approximately 48,000 water/wastewater customers in the community.

The City is responsible for more than 1,800 kilometres of water and wastewater mains and the operations of the Biosolids Management 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. These assets are critical in the delivery of clean drinking water to residents, and the safe and environmentally responsible disposal of wastewater. 

Community Engagement

From November 6 to 29, the City offered a number of engagement opportunities to residents in the community. Residents were invited to complete the budget allocator, fill out a short survey and share ideas on spending priorities and finding efficiencies. There were over 1,100 visits to the project page, 164 surveys completed, 108 budget simulations completed, and 22 ideas generated by 13 contributors. Across all avenues, residents placed a strong focus in the areas of road maintenance, winter control, garbage and recycling, and emergency services. 

Findings from the survey along with more information on the 2020 Budget are posted at www.greatersudbury.ca/budget.