Sudbury's mayor 'proud' of city's 2021 budget

Councillors approve a 4 per cent tax hike, along with a 4.8 increase in water bills

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The City of Greater Sudbury will be digging into your pockets a bit deeper in 2021.

After months of deliberations, city council Tuesday approved a 4 per cent hike in property taxes, which will go along with a 4.8 per cent hike in water bills.

For a typical home assessed at $230,000, the city said this means about $10 more a month than 2020 property taxes.

In a statement, Mayor Brian Bigger praised the 2021 budget, even though the tax hike is a shade over the 3.9 per cent goal council had set.

“The 2021 municipal budget is a true picture of resiliency in the face of adversity,” Bigger said. “This has been a budget like no other. I’m proud of what we’ve established as our business plan for the upcoming year, even while facing ongoing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to thank council and staff for their dedication in establishing a budget that reflects continued investment in our community, while keeping our commitment to ensuring residents have access to quality municipal services.”

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City councillors approved a number of big expenditures, including:

  • $59 million to upgrade and modernize long-term care facilities at Pioneer Manor. The costs will be shared with the province and financed over 30 years.
  • $5.2 million for construction of a Therapeutic Leisure Pool at the Lionel E. Lalonde Centre in Azilda.
  • $1.1 million to fund transitional housing to place and support individuals with mental health and addictions.
  • $400,000 for the purchase of an all-in-one Automated Pothole Patching Machine to improve roads infrastructure maintenance, “part of our ongoing commitment to demonstrate asset management and service excellence.”
  • $500,000 investment to create a municipal easement database that will assist city departments to record, maintain and support municipal infrastructure.
  • $480,000 to hire additional personal support workers and increase part-time hours in the nursing – direct care department, and $172,000 for registered practical nurse positions to support infection prevention and control at Pioneer Manor.
  • $2.1 million for COMPASS, a project the city said will improve the municipality’s efficiency.
  • $1.8 million of additional funding for Whitson Trail.

The city’s 2021 operating budget is $641 million. Property taxes pay almost half the operating budget. The rest comes from water bills, other user fees and provincial transfer payments.

The city will spend another $144.1 million on capital projects, with 72 per cent of that spending earmarked for roads and water and wastewater infrastructure. The remaining 28 per cent will fund projects in other areas, including leisure services, environmental services, fleet and facilities, paramedic services and police.

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Highlights of the 2021 capital budget include:

  • $58.3 million invested in road upgrades and drainage projects.
  • $45 million for water and wastewater projects.
  • $6.5 million to maintain and improve GOVA transit by accelerating the replacement of transit buses.
  • $3.8 million for leisure services, including $2.2 million in 2021 for the Therapeutic Pool.
  • $4.1 million in 2021 for the Pioneer Manor bed redevelopment project.
  • $4 million for facility lighting and mechanical upgrades, and $650,000 to support ongoing building condition assessments and accessibility needs.
  • $3.3 million for environmental services.
  • $4.9 million for information technology initiatives.
  • $3.2 million for fleet improvements including the replacement of vehicles and equipment.
  • $1.8 million for construction of the Whitson Trail.

Ed Archer, the city’s chief administrative officer, said the city took a balanced approach to striking a new budget.

“While there are ongoing uncertainties related to the impact of COVID-19, this budget includes a financial plan that balances affordability and the community’s service needs, all while continuing to advance the goals described in council’s Strategic Plan,” Archer said.

“The teamwork and collaboration on display throughout this budget development process was second to none. I thank council for their ongoing leadership and I thank staff for their continued commitment to excellence in planning and delivering municipal services.”

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @SudburyStar

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