The City of St. John's revealed a new budget Monday evening that avoids hikes in property taxes while increasing spending in sidewalk snowclearing.

"Many did not think we would be able to balance our budget without a tax increase," finance committee chair Danny Breen told council while tabling a $236-million plan.

The budget freezes tax rates on both residential and business property owners, as well as on the business occupancy tax.


Coun. Danny Breen tabled a $236-million budget at Monday's meeting. ((CBC) )

Taxpayers, though, will face a $35 hike for water services. As well, the cost of obtaining a building permit will increase.

Council presented the budget on the same day that a group of concerned pedestrians demonstrated against the state of clearing snow from sidewalks - a perennial issue in a city where many sidewalks are covered with ice or snowbanks during the chilly months.

Breen indicated that council was listening.

"In fact, sidewalk snowclearing was the dominant issue at the public budget consultation held in November," Breen said. "As a result, council will substantially increase its investment in sidewalk snowclearing and ice control."

The city has earmarked $450,000 for three new sidewalk plows, as well as an additional $250,000 for crews and supplies to run them.