City Council approved the 2018 Annual Budget Update for the Property Tax Supported Budget and the Water and Wastewater & Treatment Rate Supported Budgets on December 12.
The average annual property tax levy increase from rates will remain at 2.8%, the same average increase as originally approved for the 2016-2019 multi-year budget period. This 2.8% increase equates to an average annual tax increase of $77 (based on the average rate payer owning a home with an assessed value of $221,000 in 2015). In order to maintain the 2.8% tax levy increase, Council approved two items to reduce the tax levy increase: savings from the phase out of the vacancy tax rebate program, and 2018 assessment growth revenue in excess of costs to service growth. Council’s decisions reduced the tax levy increase from 3.3% for each of 2018 and 2019 when the budget was first presented, to 2.8% and 3.2% respectively. Council also passed a motion requesting that Civic Administration look for savings in 2019 that would further reduce the tax levy increase in that year.
The 2018 Tax Supported Budget includes a gross operating budget of $920 million and a capital budget of $159 million.
Council approved the following 19 budget amendments while maintaining the approved 2.8% average annual tax levy, noting that two amendments were revised based on reduced funding requests from Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.
Operating Budget Amendments
- Funding to continue the London Music Development Office on a temporary basis
- Funding to accommodate an increase to Councillors’ annual compensation, effective with the commencement of the next term of Council
- An operating budget increase provided to the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority to support the implementation of its recently approved strategic plan
- An operating budget increase to support maintenance, security and activation of Dundas Place
- The elimination of the annual payment (City of London subsidy) to the Stiller Centre
- Increase revenue from an Ontario Works administration subsidy due to a higher average portion of the provincial case load
- Funding to support the provincially legislated increase to minimum wage
- A confidential matter that will not be made public and was only heard by Council
Capital Budget Amendments
All capital budget amendments were accommodated within the capital plan resulting in no impact to the tax levy.
- Invasive Species Management Strategy
- London Police Service - capital plan changes
- Exterior lighting redesign and replacement for all London & Middlesex Housing Corporation sites
- Realignment of Parks projects associated with Growth
- Deferral of new Fire Station 15 (southeast)
- Adelaide Street - CPR grade separation
- Western Road widening - Platts Lane to Oxford Street
- Realignment of Transportation projects related to Growth
- Dundas Place field house
- Farquharson, Glen Cairn & Silverwoods arenas decommissioning
- Relocation of existing resources to new Fire Station 16 (Wharncliffe Rd)
- Western Rd. & Philip Aziz Ave. improvements deferred
Additionally, Council approved a pilot project for a reduced rate transit pass ($52 monthly) for youth between 13 and 17 years old, starting in September 2018.
The Water Rate Supported and Wastewater & Treatment Rate Supported Budgets were also approved, maintaining the average annual rate increase of 3% for the 2016-2019 multi-year budget period. The 3% increase translates into an $11 increase per year for Water and $14 increase per year for Wastewater & Treatment for the average rate payer.