It's lowered, but a 2.8% tax hike coming to London
It was a marathon council session Thursday night, but London has a 2014 city budget and it comes with a lower than expected tax hike.
A 2.8 per cent tax raise is coming to residents in 2014, which equates to an additional $66 to the average London homeowner with a home value of about $208,000.
The tax hike however, was lowered from the proposed draft budget that was released earlier this week. That recommendation stood at 3.2 per cent.
The tax reduction is a result of the city extracting $1.7 million from the Budget Stabilization Reserve Account and a $240,000 surplus return from the Middlesex London Health Unit.
Mayor Joe Fontana is calling the budget balanced, "Look at the details of this budget. It talks about investment, talks about maintaining services and talks about making sure tax levels are reasonable."
However, not everyone is happy. Ward 5 Councillor Joni Baechler is concerned what dipping into reserves will mean for next year’s council.
"I don't think we need to find some magic numbers out of a reserve fund that makes everything disappear, and oh, by God we've hit a lucky number that's going to sell to the taxpayers in an election year."
Still the city is hoping a 0.9 per cent increase to economic development - $4.2 million - can ignite industrial growth.
The investment is the first part of a five year plan that will see a total of $40 million put towards developing land along the Highway 401/402 corridor.
The budget includes increases of 3.3 per cent for London police and a four per cent increase for fire services.
And Fontana says "I am sure there are people who will say Fontana didn't keep his commitment. He told us zero. They should point the fingers at the police and at fire."
A full outline of London’s 2014 city budget can be seen on their website.
Additional increases for taxpayers
On top of the $66 in property taxes, a number of other annual costs are also on the rise.
The average water bill is expected to rise $27 per year, the stormwater charge is going up $8 and sanitary sewer rates are climbing $20.
So overall, Londoners can expect to shell out $121 more to city hall in 2014, or about 33 cents a day.