No mil rate changes, some fee increases in St. John’s Budget

St. John’s City Council released the details of Budget 2023 on Monday, which includes measures to address inflationary pressures without increasing property taxes.

The 2023 Budget for the City of St. John’s is balanced at $333,282,356, an increase of 4.3% over 2022.

Mill rates for residential and commercial property owners stay the same in 2023 as in 2022: 8.3 mills for residential and 26.9 mills for commercial. Water tax, however, will increase by $45 and commercial water usage rates will rise 7.1%. All revenue from water tax directly funds the provision of the service.

To address a projected deficit, the City will use $6.1M in savings from previous years.

“Inflationary pressures being felt in the community are also impacting the City as an organization,” said Coun. Ron Ellsworth, the city’s finance lead. “We cannot hold the line on inflation, but we can use savings achieved from prudent fiscal management in previous years to help bridge us through this year’s expenses without increasing the property tax burden on residents.”

Being in a position to address a deficit without increasing property taxes comes from prudent fiscal management and a focus on using tax dollars wisely. The City continues to work aggressively to find ways to operate more efficiently. 

“Council is committed to keeping our human resources costs under control and focusing on stability,” Ellsworth said. “Our goal for 2023, as always, is to provide the best quality municipal services possible. This budget allows us to maintain levels of service and make small investments that will stabilize the services that matter most to residents and businesses.”

Investments in 2023 include:

  • enhanced snow clearing at pedestrian street crossings, previously announced in October 2022
  • continued support for the Metrobus ZIP network; due to increased ridership, two extra buses will be added to Route 2 and one bus will be added to Route 10 to enhance service during the mid-day and evening on weekdays during the summer
  • $445,000 in preparation for the 2025 Canada Games new and improved sport and community facilitiesthat will provide long-term benefits for sport, health and wellness.

21.24 additional full-time equivalents (FTEs) are budgeted for 2023. These new positions ensure we continue to meet the growing demands the following areas: snow clearing, waste collection, water services, fire prevention, animal care, sustainability, transportation engineering, planning, parking enforcement, asset management, privacy and City buildings.

Along with the budget, Council approved fee increases in Recreation programs and services that help to deflect increases in overhead costs for facilities, materials, staffing and transportation. Approximately every three years, staff complete a thorough review of the fees charged for Recreation programs and services and rental rates. Fee increases for 2023 are in line with or below the fees charged for similar programs offered privately or by other municipalities, where possible.

Read the full list of fees and access all budget materials for Budget 2023 at StJohns.ca.

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