Tax increase at 2.7 per cent with operational budget debate complete
Published Thursday, January 24, 2019 6:41PM EST
After a full day of deliberations over the 2019 budget London city councillors ended up exactly where they started.
So far, taxpayers can expect to pay 2.7 per cent more in 2019, or about $74 for an average household.
Through six hours of debate Thursday council managed to get through the operating budget. Among the more contentious issues were minimum wage, bike lanes and transit.
After considerable debate, council voted nine to six to continue paying casual and summer hires the minimum wage of $14/hour, not to bump it up to $15/hour.
That change would have brought an additional cost of $521,000.
Year-round bike lane maintenance, as per new provincial regulations, was approved by a vote of 12 to two. It will cost the city $408,000.
And council voted 13 to two in favour of the return of subsidized transit for seniors, with a price tag of $285,000.
The Children's Museum got unanimous support for $2 million from the Economic Development and Tourism Infrastructure reserve for its plan to move to the former Kellogg plant.
But because those funds come from reserves, it has no impact on the tax rate.
Finally, council voted 12 to three to take $330,000 from assessment growth and apply it to the tax rate to help hold the increase to 2.7 per cent.
A lot of work remains, including addressing a $370,000 request from the Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre for bridge funding.
Councillors will delve into the capital budget on Monday.