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Kingston city council approves tax increase in 2019 budget deliberations

Click to play video: '2019 Kingston city budget comes with 2.5% tax increase' 2019 Kingston city budget comes with 2.5% tax increase
WATCH: The 2.5 per cent tax increase isn't popular with some councillors – Jan 31, 2019

After budget deliberations wrapped up, it seems Kingston homeowners will have to dig a little deeper this year.

City council has finalized the 2019 budget, which features a built-in tax increase of 2.5 per cent.

READ MORE: Kingston mayor’s inaugural speech pledges task force on housing

It took three nights of department presentations and debate before council approved a budget that holds the line.

The overall price tag reached $388 million to maintain existing services like snow plowing and policing.

The municipal capital budget came in at $51 million, with most expenses spent on road and bridge repairs, along with other one time expenses.

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Pittsburgh District Coun. Ryan Boehme isn’t pleased with the 2.5 per cent increase, saying he’s concerned the city is overestimating it’s growth.

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“What’s going to happen if we don’t increase growth? Then you’re going to have to make a decision of contouring to raise taxes or decide what services to cut.”

Growing the municipality’s housing is a key component to reducing the tax burden on homeowners, according to Mayor Bryan Paterson.

“If we can build more housing, not only does it provide more places for people to live, but it also provides revenues to the city that we can use as investments to repair roads and parks, and reduce the tax rate.”

READ MORE: Mayor tells Kingston business community affordable housing is top priority

Councillors say they will be looking to the private sector to help address the housing issue through the upcoming mayor’s taskforce on housing, which is slated to begin in February.

The 2019 budget tax increase will mean an average increase of $87 per Kingston homeowner.

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