London city council approves lower property tax increase for 2021 budget

London City Hall as seen June 14, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL File

London city council has rubber-stamped its budget for 2021 as politicians approved a 3.4 per cent tax hike.

It is a smaller increase than the 4.4 per cent bump originally planned under the 2020-23 multi-year budget discussion in March 2020. The change will only impact the 2021 budget and not the budget in the two years to follow.

The reduction is primarily a direct result of investment deferrals due to the impact of COVID-19.

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“Although the 2021 tax levy has seen a significant reduction, it is important for Londoners to know that the biggest budget amendments influencing this reduction are one-time deferrals,” said Anna Lisa Barbon, the city’s Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.

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“City Council and Civic Administration are committed to the previously approved investments through the multi-year budget and will see these projects move forward, barring any additional impacts from COVID-19.”

The document outlines $1.04 billion in city hall spending this year and saddles property taxpayers with a 3.4 per cent increase.

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Residents will see the average four-year tax levy reduced slightly from 3.9 per cent to 3.8 per cent.

That means the average homeowner in London will notice an average annual tax increase of $114, based on an average residential property with an assessed property value of $241,000 in 2019.

In March, councillors voted to increase the amount of money allocated to improve city infrastructure from $4.5 million to $7.5 million.

The 2021 Annual Update is the first for the City’s 2020-2023 Multi-Year Budget.