“It (tax projection) was low enough that we had enough room to do the cuts and get to the figure we wanted,” said Mayor Guy Desjardins at the end of the November 5 budget review session. “It’s very, very good.”
The draft budget report that Clarence-Rockland administration presented to council in September projected a possible 3.99 per cent tax increase if the budget passed without any changes. By the end of three-day budget review that took place from November 3 to 5, council and municipal staff found enough cuts to make to the operations and capital works parts of the budget to bring the actual tax increase down to 2.25 per cent.
“There’s one per cent of that (tax increase) going to roads,” said Mayor Desjardins during a later interview. “There are a lot of big projects that have to be done, and they should be done now.”
The other 1.5 per cent tax increase will go towards mandatory municipal operation expenses, including increases for staff wages and benefits guaranteed through union and non-union contracts.
The revised budget will go back to council for review and possible final approval during its November 16 session.
The provincial government revealed its 2021 budget earlier in the day. Mayor Desjardins observed that city administration and council will need to review the complete provincial budget package to determine if there are potential benefits for Clarence-Rockland that could affect next year’s capital project plans.