On Monday April 20, City Council will decide the future tax rate increases to our budgets for 2016 through 2018. The tax rate we choose will determine the extent and pace for introducing new city programs and services, and will guide potential changes in our current operations.
Right now the city invests an annual 1% tax increase for future road repairs and other important capital projects. If the cost of providing city programs and services rises by inflation (approx. 2% per year) and we want to maintain the 1% for future infrastructure projects, we would be looking at an annual tax increase of 3 – 3.5%. That 3 – 3.5% doesn’t include if we want to invest in new programs and services.
During the election I heard from countless seniors, families and small business owners who felt squeezed financially – that their incomes and pensions weren’t keeping pace with tax rate increases. As a city it’s critical that we live within our means while keeping our community affordable. But I want to hear from you on how we can find the right balance between investing in our programs and services and keeping taxes low.
To get the tax rate lower, we need to look at how we deliver our programs and services, explore new revenue streams, and be open to how we can reduce our costs to save money. The question is, like in any household budget, how do we get there?