Next week City Council will be presented with the City of Kingston’s draft 2016 operating and capital budgets. I’ve already had a chance to look it over and at this point I like what I see. First, there are a number of important investments that we will be making over the next year including:
- $16 million for the airport expansion, which is a key strategic infrastructure investment for the city
- $3.6 million for the K&P trail, with a goal to have this work finished in time for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017
- $11.3 million for the renovation of the central branch of the library into a more modern and accessible space for the community in our downtown core
- $1.7 million towards new client relation management software, so that as a city we can provide faster and more efficient responses to residents questions and feedback
- $2 million for continued investment in affordable housing, an ongoing strategic priority for City Council
I’m also very pleased that the 2016 budget is in line with City Council’s direction to limit the annual tax rate increase to 1.5% for operating costs, plus 1% towards maintaining our city’s roads and other infrastructure.
A 1.5% increase is below the inflation rate with no cuts to frontline services. That means over $1 million in savings and efficiencies had to be found across all city departments. In my view these efficiencies reflects a key component of a smart and livable city – where we are constantly working to find better and more efficient ways of running the city to deliver better value for taxpayer dollars.
For more information on the budget meetings held November 23-25 and related documents please visit the City of Kingston website here