Chopping block: List of possible city budget cuts released
LONDON, ONT. -- City hall has released a list of service cuts and reductions which could shave the tax increase in the upcoming four-year budget.
In a new report, the city treasurer lists nine possible service cuts and spending reductions that could, in total, shave 0.2 per cent off the average annual tax increase in the 2020-23 municipal budget.
“0.2 per cent doesn't get us very far when the all-in (average annual tax increase) number is 4.5 per cent, but certainly it helps and moves us in the right direction,” says Josh Morgan, city hall’s budget chair.
Based on draft budget documents released Wednesday, Londoners should expect property taxes to rise, on average, between 3.2 per cent and 4.5 per cent each of the next four years.
The proposed cuts would reduce the top end figure to 4.3 per cent.
The list of potential budget cuts includes:
- Eliminating Christmas tree curbside collection (- $120,000)
- Eliminate planned security improvements at Downtown Library (- $107,000)
- Reducing Museum London spending on exhibitions (- $236,000)
- Reduction to neighbourhood road construction (- $3.2 million)
Other measures to ease budget pressures include:
- Increasing fees for high rise garbage/recycling collection (+ $900,000)
- Shifting conservation authority costs to sewer/wastewater bills ($11.5 million)
- Several other boards and commissions
The above list responds to a Nov. 6 resolution by council directing city staff and external boards and commissions to develop business cases for possible budget reductions.
The London Police Services Board, London Transit Commission, and London Middlesex Community Housing did not offer any additional savings.
Each year of the budget, an average home assessed at $241,000 could pay:
- No additional Business Cases 3.2 % = +$94/year
- + Staff recommended Business cases 3.8% = +$113/year
- + All Business Cases 4.5% = +$135/year
Londoners are being strongly encouraged to provide input on the 34 budget business cases that propose service cuts and new spending.
Mayor Ed Holder says council needs Londoners to communicate their budget priorities.
“These are not trite or simple issues to deal with, these are important issues and we are asking Londoners to help us make those decisions.”
An online Business Case Survey will be posted on GetInvolved.London.ca
Budget Open House Sessions will be held on Jan. 11, 13, 15, and 16. Details are posted on the City of London website.
Formal public participation meetings will be held on Jan. 23 and Feb. 13 at city hall.
Budget deliberations begin Jan. 30 inside council chambers.