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Essar fallout: councillors propose spending cuts, selling ads on trash cans

Would you buy an ad on a garbage can to help your city make up for Essar Steel Algoma's unpaid property taxes?
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2014-04-07 Essar Steel Algoma 007
File photo of Essar Steel Algoma. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

The following resolutions about austerity measures have been placed on the agenda of next week's City Council meeting.

The meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

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2018 budget

Mover: Councillor M. Shoemaker
Seconder: Councillor R. Niro

Whereas the community is facing extreme economic anxiety due to non-payment of taxes by the city's largest employer; and

Whereas the community has recently learned that continued non-payment of taxes by our largest employer could result in either a dramatic increase in taxes or significant layoffs; and

Whereas council will need to avoid measures that would exacerbate the pain the community is already feeling; and

Whereas it is prudent to mitigate some of those measures to the greatest extent possible;

Now therefore be it resolved that the five city departments, being: public works and engineering, emergency services, legal, corporate services and community development and enterprise services be directed to present to City Council 2018 preliminary budgets with a zero per cent increase over their 2017 approved budgets, including a list of cost saving options for council to consider in achieving that zero per cent budget change; and

Further be it resolved that each city department provide a further list of cost saving options for council's consideration to achieve a one percent overall reduction from their respective 2017 approved budgets.

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Revenue generating from advertising

Mover: Councillor M. Shoemaker
Seconder: Councillor J. Krmpotich

Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie maintains park benches, garbage cans, bus stops and other permanent structures and objects throughout the City of Sault Ste. Marie; and

Whereas many municipalities in Ontario use their permanent structures and objects as advertisement revenue generators; and

Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie must look at every opportunity to generate new revenues to offset future municipal tax increases;

Now therefore be it resolved that staff be requested to investigate using permanent objects and structures in the City of Sault Ste. Marie as revenue generating tools.

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Report on community improvement plans and tax increment equivalent grant programs for commercial and industrial property classes

Mover: Councillor P. Christian
Seconder: Councillor S. Butland
 
Whereas the Planning Act, 1990 enables single-tier Ontario municipalities to enact bylaws respecting the creation of community improvement project areas and the adoption of community improvement plans; and
 
Whereas tax increment equivalent qrants are a grant available under community improvement plans, and are used to return the full or partial amount of the property tax increase arising from the redevelopment or improvement of a property within a community improvement project area to the property owner, so as to encourage development and investment; and
 
Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie's downtown community improvement plan has utilized tax increment equivalent grants for several years and over the course of the plan has seen considerable new investment flow into the downtown for improvements; and
 
Whereas the long-term tax policy report received by council on Nov. 21, 2016 recommended that staff be directed to investigate the feasibility of developing a community improvement plan for industrial properties; and
 
Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie is conscious of the need to provide a competitive environment for all current and potential new businesses and is desirous of exploring avenues to encourage business growth and expansion in the city;
 
Now therefore be it resolved that staff review and report on the feasibility, costs and potential benefits of implementing community improvement plans for all properties in the city in the industrial and commercial classes.

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