Sault Ste. Marie City Council has tonight approved 2022 operating and capital budgets including a maximum levy increase of 4.53 per cent.
Some further decreases are expected, however, after councillors decided late this afternoon to subject the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service budget to further scrutiny.
The police budget, which originally called for an increase of 10.16 per cent, will be sent back to the local police services board for reconsideration, council decided.
Most of the property tax hike is coming from local and levy boards including Algoma Public Health and District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administrative Board.
Mayor Provenzano pointed out that the portion of the budget fully under the city's control is responsible for just a 1.35 per cent increase.
City Council isn't expected to sign off on any cuts to the police budget until its Jan. 10 meeting.
The following additions were made to the 2022 municipal budget tonight:
- $74,934 for another full-time apprentice in the public works department
- $130,250 for an additional full-time lawyer in the legal department, to be offset by a $20,000 reduction in purchased and contracted services
- $70,405 for a return-to-work coordinator in the human resources department, the full amount to be offset by a reduction in corporate WSIB costs
- $49,500 for an additional part-time bylaw enforcement officer, fully offset by a reduction in corporate travel and training
- $40,000 to help the city clerk with unforeseen election cost increases
- $11,000 allowing Sault Transit to run a pilot summer Adventure Bus
- $96,108 for a full-time sustainability coordinator
- $130,000 for studies on fleet replacement and work streamlining in public works department, to be fully paid from the city's asset management reserve
- a $13,909 grant increase to the Sault Ste, Marie Museum
- a $944,690 change using the city's tax stabilization reserve fund to address financial pressures of COVID-19 and reducing the tax levy
Final tax rates will be set in March or April of next year.
SooToday is preparing further coverage of the 2022 municipal budget.