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Special 10-year tax levy recommended in 2017 Guelph budget

City's 2017 recommended capital budget says special levy needed to address infrastructure issues
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City staff is recommending taxpayers be hit with a special 0.5 per cent tax levy for the next 10 years to help finance its aging infrastructure.

That half per cent "Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Levy" would be in addition to any possible property tax increase.

It is considerably less than the possible 2 per cent special tax levy that was originally floated during last year's budget discussions, but the amount of the levy would be open for review annually.

The levy would raise an additional $1.12 million in its first year which would go to a special reserve fund dedicated to infrastructure projects, says city staff.

The recommendation is part of the city's 2017-2026 recommended tax-supported capital budget and forecast that was released late Tuesday afternoon.

"At this time, the city does not recommend a higher levy amount recognizing that residents are facing other financial pressures," the document said.

It said a special levy is the best way of addressing a growing infrastructure deficit.

"Each year the infrastructure backlog grows and puts additional strain on future budgets, passing the financial burden to future generations of Guelph residents," it reads.

The city is "unable to meet its current and future infrastructure needs through the recommended budget. Through the Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Levy report, the City will present its plan to reduce the in-year infrastructure gap as it works to eliminating the infrastructure backlog.

It says the city's 2017 capital projected capital projects are fully funded at this point but estimates that it's current capital forecast for 2018-2026 is underfunded by $191 million dollars.

"There are different ways in which municipalities can fund their infrastructure needs; the city, like other municipalities, is recommending an infrastructure renewal levy," the city said in its release Tuesday.

"The historical underfunding of the tax-supported capital program has resulted in inadequate funds to cover the city’s needs today and in the future in areas of infrastructure renewal, growth and city building."

The recommended tax-supported budget, including the special levy, goes to Guelph City Council Nov. 3 for council's consideration. Public delegations are welcome at that time.

Full documents can be found on the city's budget web portal at www.guelph.ca/budget.

"This year’s budget is focused on taking care of existing infrastructure, systems and programs to ensure the community’s health and safety and meeting legislative requirements,” said acting city treasurer James Krauter in the release outlining the recommended tax-supported capital budget.

“Our recommendation for council and the community is based on balancing affordability for the community with current and future capital and infrastructure needs of the city.”

The recommended capital budget is $59.4 million.



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