May 6, 2019 8:27 am

City committee to debate London’s upcoming multi-year budget

London's strategic priorities and policy committee will be looking at a report Monday outlining tax increases for the city's upcoming 2020-2023 budget.

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City councillors will be diving into a report on Monday that could shape upcoming tax levy increases for Londoners over the next four years.

The strategic priorities and policy committee will be dealing with city staff’s recommendations for London’s 2020-2023 multi-year budget.

City staff are proposing a 2.7 per cent tax levy increase, the current rate of tax hikes for London’s 2019 budget year.

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To put it in dollar value, the increase would add an extra $76 to the property tax of a homeowner with a house valued at $221,000.

Along with responding to inflationary pressures, city staff say the proposed tax hike would maintain existing city services during the upcoming budget’s four-year period, while providing cash for council to accomplish some of the more than 150 priorities in the city’s four-year strategic plan.

The financial forecast also says London would need a 3.2 per cent tax increase every year until 2023 in order to meet every priority outlined in council’s strategic plan. Meanwhile, maintaining existing city services alone would cost a 2.2 per cent increase.

READ MORE: London city council approves 4-year strategic plan

Budget chair and Ward 7 Coun. Josh Morgan says the report gives council a range of options in achieving different tax targets.

“We can pace the strategic plan further out… you can also look for efficiencies in the corporation and we, of course, have all of our regular service review tools to dig into efficiencies as well,” Morgan said.

“We can have tough discussions about the services we provide… what we want to scale back on, what we want to exit on and the way we want to provide those services.”

READ MORE: London city committee recommends lower tax increase than expected for homeowners

Morgan added that Monday’s meeting will help the city decide what process to follow during upcoming budget discussions.

“That means ensuring that we have the debates when we need to have them, we do the public engagement when we need to do it, and that we get council all the information it needs to make the very tough decisions that they’ll make on this budget.”

Morgan says he hopes to see public engagement prioritized during the budget process, allowing councillors to key into what Londoners want to see happen.

The 2020-2023 multi-year budget is expected to be tabled at a strategic priorities and policy committee meeting on Dec. 9, 2019.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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