On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, Council approved the 2019 Annual Budget Update, which included an approved tax levy increase of 2.7% for 2019, reducing the average annual increase over the 2016-2019 Multi-Year Budget period from 2.8% to 2.7%.
With this approval, Council also met their objective to reduce the previously approved 3.2% increase for 2019 projected in the 2018 Annual Budget Update. This reduction equates to an average annual increase of $74 for the average ratepayer owning a home with an assessed value of $221,000 in 2015. This represents a reduction of $3 from the $77 average annual increase approved through the 2018 Annual Budget Update.
The 2019 Annual Budget Update is the last annual update to the 2016-2019 Multi-year Budget for the Property Tax Supported Budget and the Water and Wastewater & Treatment Rate Supported Budgets.
“I am pleased that we were able to reduce the previously approved tax levy increase, and to move forward with a budget that lets us complete the last year of our multi-year budget processes,” said Mayor Ed Holder. “Thank you to council, city staff and all who have worked to deliver a budget that allows the City to deliver its services, but that is also ever mindful of the impact on residents. I look forward to starting our next Multi-Year Budget process this spring.”
The 2019 Annual Budget Update included 13 budget amendment cases: eight operating budget amendments and five capital budget amendments.
Operating Budget Amendments
Three of the operating budget amendments resulted in budget decreases, four represented budget increases, and one did not have an impact on the tax levy.
- Increases to the revenue budget, primarily as a result of recent favourable trends, in the following areas: tipping fees; licensing/ceremony fees; taxation services fees; parking and court fees; new business licensing categories and development services application fees. These adjustments reduce the tax levy increase to 2.9% as directed by Council.
- Cancelling the previously planned 2019 minimum wage increase from $14 per hour to $15 per hour after Bill 47 (Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018) was passed by the Province.
- A confidential matter related to labour relations and employee negotiations that reduced the budget by $2.0 million.
- A funding increase for bicycle lane maintenance in both summer and winter to comply with a new Provincial regulation.
- Funding for additional Land Ambulance resources to address increased call volumes and risk mitigation requirements for the Middlesex-London Paramedic Service.
- Funding to hire a full-time psychologist and administrative support staff for the London Police Service’s Safeguard Program.
- Funding for subsidized transit for seniors that will provide a 25% discount on the cost of bus tickets.
- Funding for a one-time $2 million investment in the London Children’s Museum as part of a broader $13.9 million project to support the establishment of a new Children’s Museum at 100 Kellogg Lane. This amendment has no impact on the tax levy.
Capital Budget Amendments
All capital budget amendments were accommodated within the capital plan resulting in no impact to the tax levy.
- Advance the timing of the London Convention Centre roof replacement project to align with other capital project schedules.
- Funding to paint the Covent Garden Market Parking Garage, to extend the useful life of its concrete.
- Establish a capital project for the first study which will provide the foundation for future redevelopment of the Masonville Transit Village.
- Project estimate updates for various transportation growth projects based on 2018 environmental assessments (Wharncliffe Road widening, Richmond/Fanshawe intersection, Hamilton/Highbury intersection).
- Realignment of various transportation growth projects; no additional funding requirement to the 10 year capital plan.
Additionally, Council approved a one-time $50,000 contribution to the newly established Hamilton Road Business Improvement Association funded from the Community Investment Reserve Fund.
Ten capital budget amendments were approved for the Water and Wastewater & Treatment Budgets, but they had no impact on the previously approved rate increase. The approved Water and Wastewater & Treatment Budgets maintain the average annual rate increase of 3%, resulting in an average annual increase of $11 (Water) and $14 (Wastewater & Treatment) for the average user consuming 165.4 m3 per year. The 3% increase has been maintained through the entire 2016-2019 Multi-Year Budget period.
“The 2019 Budget Update represents the final adjustments to the 2016-2019 Multi-Year Budget, the first ever multi-year budget for the City of London,” says Anna Lisa Barbon, Managing Director, Corporate Services and City Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer. “The 2016-2019 Multi-Year Budget process has been very successful. Not only has the Multi-Year Budget provided the resources to implement Council’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, but the 2.8% average annual tax levy increase approved at the beginning of the Multi-Year Budget cycle has been maintained and, in fact, reduced to 2.7%. As the 2019 Budget has been approved, we are looking forward and have already started our preparations for the 2020-2023 Multi-Year Budget.”
For more information on the 2019 Annual Budget Update and the 2016-2019 Multi-Year Budget visit www.london.ca/budget.