Budget Highlights Include No Tax Increases

Monday, December 09, 2013 - 5:30 PM
Cover of Budget 2014: Steady the Course

The City of St. John’s brought down its budget for the 2014 fiscal year on Dec. 9 and it reaffirms the City’s commitment to fiscal discipline and prudent expenditure management.
“When we did our forecast last year, we fully anticipated that we would have to increase mil rates for both residential and commercial properties in 2014,” says Councillor Danny Breen. “I am delighted to say that we have been able to balance our budget with no tax increases necessary. Overall, I am very pleased that we have brought forth a budget today that balances our need to bring first-class services to our residents with our commitment to fiscal responsibility.”
In 2014, the City will see a number of new and upgraded facilities commissioned which will increase overall gross expenditures. Some of the new facilities include:

  • The Bay Bulls Big Pond Dissolved Air Flotation Treatment System, which will provide enhanced water quality.
  • The Petty Harbour Long Pond Treatment Facility, which will increase the supply of high quality drinking water by 15,000 cubic meters per day.
  • The Riverhead Wastewater Treatment Facility will be fully operational once the Temperance Street outfall is redirected to Riverhead.
  • The Southlands Community Centre currently under construction will open its doors in 2014.

Overall, the cost of maintaining core program delivery at current service levels is projected to increase by a modest 3 per cent, while increased pension costs and water treatment plant annualization will increase net operating costs by 5.8 per cent.
“We continually look at our processes and operations to try and find efficiencies,” says Councillor Breen. “The recent departmental realignment and adjustments we made to our municipal service delivery model will allow us to be more responsive to the growing needs of the community by streamlining our operations. It is through our strong commitment to prudent fiscal management that we are able to bring these new facilities online without impacting property tax mil rates.”
The revenue highlights for 2014 include:

  • The Residential Property Tax mil rate will remain at 8.1 mils.
  • The Business Property Tax mil will remain at 26.2 mils.
  • No increase in Water Tax for residential properties.
  • No increase in Water Tax for commercial properties.
  • Low income seniors will continue to receive a 25 per cent reduction in their residential property tax.
  • Development Fees will remain at 2013 levels. Development Fee revenue is 100 per cent dedicated towards growing and maintaining our network of parks, open spaces and playgrounds.

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, residential and commercial properties under construction will be assessed for realty tax purposes based on percentage of completion.“We will continue to be challenged to maintain service levels while managing the tax burden to our residents,” says Councillor Danny Breen. “Currently we are forecasting mil rate increases for both residential and commercial properties in 2015 and 2016. However, this is dependent on a number of factors, particularly our fiscal relationship with the province. The City will continue to strive to reduce operating costs, without jeopardizing program delivery and we will continue to identify alternative revenue sources to reduce our dependence on property tax.”

Budget 2014: Steady the Course Document
For further information:
Jennifer Mills
Communications and Public Relations Officer
City of St. John’s
Phone: (709) 570-2037
Cell: (709) 690-7586
E-mail: jmills@stjohns.ca
Danny Breen
Ward 1 Councillor
Chair, Finance and Administration Standing Committee
City of St. John’s
Phone: (709) 576-2332
E-mail: dbreen@stjohns.ca