A report to the Governance and Priority Committee is predicting property taxes could be increased by as much as 6.97 per cent for 2018.
The main factors are inflation on city expenses and the impacts of the end of the provincial grant-in-lieu program. The report explains that the inflationary increase in 2018 is expected to be an additional $5.2 million, mostly from salaries, utilities and inflationary increases to reserves contributions. Despite a projected increase in revenues, the inflationary increase would put the property tax increase at just under 3 per cent. With the grants-in-lieu program, the city is estimating an $11.4 million impact by ending the program for the entire year, which would require a further 1.42 per cent tax increase. Along with police budget estimates and growth pressures, the city would have to increase property taxes by 6.97 per cent to cover the costs. They do have the option of reducing services to lower the impact on taxpayers. The city will make final decisions in 2018 budget deliberations.