No tax increase for St. John's residents, businesses in 2014

The City of St. John's will not raise property or water tax in 2014, but the city is planning to put a new tax on partially completed properties.

2014 budget unveiled at St. John's city council meeting

St. John's city councillor Danny Breen, who is chair of the city's finance committee, talks about the city's 2014 budget. (CBC)

The City of St. John's will not raise property or water tax in 2014, but the city will put a new tax on partially completed properties. 

"We're staying the course," said Danny Breen, chair of the city's finance committee and Ward 1 councillor. 

The city released its 2014 budget at its regular meeting on Monday night, and Breen noted that this budget was the second year of a three-year financial plan. 

Although residents and business owners have dodged a tax increase, there will be a new tax on partially completed properties, effective Jan. 1, 2015.  

"We've done it for a number of different other reasons. One is that we have to provide service to these uncompleted properties and that certainly costs money," said Dennis O'Keefe, the mayor of St. John's. 

"We've tied the residential component of that into affordable housing so we're hoping that that element of the tax, the residential portion, part of that, if not all of that, will be able to be used by us to increase our affordable housing."

The city has also planned to go ahead with a $60-million expansion to the St. John's Convention Centre, and a $30-million replacement for the Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre. 

Breen noted that those projects are cost-shared with the federal and provincial governments. 

Breen also said that residential and business tax increases in St. John's may be necessary in 2015 and 2016. 

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