City Presents First Multi-Year Budget
Nov 15, 2023
At this evening’s Finance and Administration Committee meeting of Council, the City’s first proposed multi-year budget was presented. The proposed budget includes a two-year operating budget for 2024-2025, and a four-year capital budget for 2024 through 2027.
Council will now review the document, and budget deliberation meetings will take place on December 12, 18 and 19, 2023. Additional meetings will be scheduled if needed. Council is expected to approve the final budget in December.
“I would like to acknowledge the significant work and thorough analysis that staff has completed to develop the City’s first multi-year budget,” said Ward 9 Councillor Deb McIntosh, Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee. “This allows us to make forward-looking decisions, particularly when it comes to capital expenditures and asset renewal. This proposed plan includes options that support the safety and well-being of our community’s most vulnerable and improve community safety. I look forward to working with my colleagues to finalize our first multi-year budget, which will provide a clear and deliberate roadmap for what we hope to accomplish.”
Staff developed the budget following direction from Council in the second quarter of 2023 that the total change in property tax to maintain existing service levels should be limited to 4.7 per cent for 2024 and 2025. If approved by Council, an additional 1.5 per cent special capital levy will accelerate road renewal efforts for each year from 2024 through to 2027 and an additional 0.5 per cent levy in 2024 will strengthen reserve balances and help manage the risk of price fluctuations.
Altogether, if the approved budget also includes special capital levy of 1.5 per cent and an additional levy of 0.5 per cent in 2024, property taxes would increase by 6.7 per cent in 2024 and 6.2 per cent in 2025.
A 6.7 per cent tax increase in 2024 represents an additional $29 monthly for a home with a current assessment value of $350,000, or an extra $38 monthly for a home assessed at $450,000. A 6.2 per cent increase in 2025 would represent a monthly tax increase of $29 and $37, respectively.
The budget also includes a proposed 4.8 per cent rate increase to the 2023 Water and Wastewater user rates, in accordance with the Long-term Financial Plan. Unlike other services, water and wastewater services are entirely supported by user rates and do not require a property tax subsidy. The rate increase reflects investments in annual renewal, repair and maintenance needed to keep the system sustainable. The impact on a typical user (200 m3) is approximately $6.11 per month for 2024 and $6.37 per month for 2025.
Following Council’s direction, 33 business cases for service changes are included in the proposed budget, with additional options to come as the budget process unfolds. These will be the subject of Council’s budget deliberations in December, and included in the final budget, if approved.
According to the 2022 study by BMA Management Consulting Inc., Greater Sudbury property taxes continue to be among the lowest in Ontario for comparable properties, and the second lowest of the five major northern Ontario cities, behind only Sault Ste. Marie.
The proposed 2024-2025 budget includes important investments in roads, facilities and community services.
The proposed operating budget for the City and its service partners is $765 million in 2024 and $794 million in 2025. This is the money needed to provide day-to-day services and operations.
The budget for the next two years faces significant pressures and commitments including:
- inflation and supply chain disruptions,
- aging assets that are nearing end of life,
- rising construction costs,
- a tight labour market,
- the need to improve reserve funds,
- legislative changes which impact costs and revenues,
- support for transitional housing services.
The proposed 2024-2027 capital budget recommends a record investment of $859 million over the next four years to addresses the City’s most critical needs. Much of the City’s capital needs relate to existing infrastructure in the areas of roads, bridges, water and wastewater, facilities and fleet.
The proposed water and wastewater budget is $97 million for 2024 and $102 million for 2025.
“The proposed budget recommends record capital investment in our infrastructure to address longstanding asset renewal needs and provides a multi-year plan that advances Council’s strategic plan priorities,” said City of Greater Sudbury Chief Administrative Officer Ed Archer. “The proposed budget also considers opportunities for growth, through investments related to our downtown arena/event centre and the Junction East cultural hub. We are focused on delivering Council’s vision of building a healthy, prosperous and thriving city.”
From October 11 to November 8, 2023, Greater Sudbury residents had the opportunity to share feedback on spending priorities and desired service levels through the City’s Over to You online engagement portal, by filling out a paper survey or by calling 311.
The proposed budget and engagement results can be viewed at overtoyou.greatersudbury.ca where residents can ask questions. Virtual budget town halls will be held on Wednesday, December 6 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m.
For more information on the 2024-2025 operating budget and 2024-2027 capital budget visit www.greatersudbury.ca/budget.