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Mayor Morgan won't be using 'strong mayor' powers to veto budget amendments

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The budget process began with the first multi-year budget tabled by London Mayor Josh Morgan, a new obligation for larger city mayors.

“I actually have obligations under the act to table a budget. Like, I don't have a choice. The only way something else can happen is if I fail to meet my obligations under the legislation,” said Morgan.

Budget Chair and Ward 12 Coun. Elizabeth Peloza said in the end, the new process led to compromises across council.

“I would say that everyone lost votes on this one, that no one's completely happy as we all come to the table having different needs from our areas. And now the work begins as it's a multi-year budget,” said Peloza.

After several amendments were brought forward during the 30-day period, significant funding was added to key service like transit and the Library.

Morgan has the ability to veto these amendments under his new legislative powers, but won’t be using them.

“It was always my intention through this process, that council would be making significant changes to the budget and they've made the changes that they wanted to make and that includes changes to the budget that I tabled, which I fully expect and fully accept,” he said.

One of the more controversial components of the budget was a large increase to public safety, something Chief Thai Truong was watching closely,

“I watched and I can tell you that as a police chief, there's a lot of work to do. There is a lot of work to do. I know that I saw that when I came here and I've been here for almost a year now, and June will be a year. And I have a good understanding of the issues that the city faces. And one of our priorities is community trust,“ said Truong.

Londoners will see an increase of 8.7 per cent in property tax this year, compared to larger southern Ontario cities like Toronto, which approved a 9.5 per cent increase. Residents in Hamilton will see a 5.9 per cent bump.

Work now begins on lowering the number of the coming years’ projected increases.

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