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City politicians in London, Ont. endorse plans for $10.2M in new property tax revenue

Councillors who aren't yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have until Nov. 19 to get both shots. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

City politicians endorsed a plan to dish out $10.2 million in new property tax revenue during the Strategic Priority and Policy committee meeting Tuesday evening.

The funding can be utilized in future budgets, which will go toward growth across different city departments and agencies. Transit, police, fire, and housing are set to receive a bulk of the $10.2 million.

The London Transit Commission (LTC) is set to receive more than $2 million as it looks to improve bus service in the city.

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Ward 6 Coun. Phil Squire, who also chairs the LTC, said this is good news for transit users because it will help the commission deliverĀ “a transit system that is going to respond to what we heard from riders about what they want to see.”

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Squire said the commission will explore adding alternate service to areas of the city currently lacking it, and adding more buses to busier routes so riders won’t have to wait as long between pick ups.

“Rather than looking to do something grand outside of what we’re doing, we’re going to make the current system operate better.”

The fire department will receive a new “aerial apparatus” to reach high-rise buildings at a cost of just under $630,000, plus an additional $833,000 for a new station that will serve southeast London.

London Police Service is expected to receive more than $2 million. A report shows London’s police force will receive $1.53 million for 11 new employees, nine of whom will be civilians. The service will also receive $500,000 that was deferred last year to hire more officers.

Politicians also endorsed nearly $2.3 million to cover future repairs and upgrades for city assets as they age.

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Ward 7 Coun. Josh Morgan says the contribution will help keep the pressure off the infrastructure gap.

“I think this is a particularly interesting and innovative approach to allowing us some ability to catch up on our infrastructure gap by using a portion of assessment growth to make sure we aren’t adding to it with new assets.”

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Other notable funding includes $500,000 to fix aging public housing units at London and Middlesex Community Housing properties, where more than 5,000 people and families are currently on the waiting list for units.

Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis said Tuesday night that he can “definitely see this helping on the housing front.”

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Additionally, $105,652 will be used to hire a pool supervisor for the East Lions Community Centre, an east-end recreation facility that has yet to open.

It was originally slated to open in 2019.

“The hope is it will open later this year,” city treasurer Anna Lisa Barbon told the meeting.

“We still have a little bit of uncertainty with respect to the date, but the money needs to be in place to hire that individual.”

City council is expected to approve this year’s spending when it meets later this month.

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