Sudbury city council is asking its citizens for an extra $100 or so in taxes next year.
Council approved the 2014 budget in principle last night, built around a 2.9 per cent property tax hike. But some say that's way too high.
After spending hours whittling the numbers down and sneaking the tax hike under three per cent — done by taking a little money out reserves, as well as making some funding one-time, rather than permanent — council approved the budget by a vote of 8-4.
Mayor Marianne Matichuk voted no.
She said she thinks an increase of between $50 and $150 is too much for many Sudburians, and wants it closer to two per cent.
"I think we have some work to do. I don't see why we have to run it through,” Matichuk said.
“I think there are opportunities to find some more money. And I won't support this at all."
Matichuk said she's presented some possible cuts to staff, but didn't table any at the meeting, as she has done in years past.
‘Smoke and mirrors’
City councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann said she is happy with where the budget ended up, especially considering the provincial funding cuts and mounting costs of running the city.
"I think you have to consider the whole picture and what we have done."
A tax hike of this magnitude didn't impress city councillor Frances Caldarelli.
“I have a really old fashioned idea about what we do. Let's not spend the money,” she said.
“I mean, this is all smoke and mirrors: Well, we take it out of reserves and we'll make it one-time. We're not cutting the spending one damn bit."
Before the 2.9 per cent tax hike is in the books, it needs to pass another vote at next week's council meeting, set for next Tuesday.
|Greater Sudbury Council tax hike vote||For||Against||Absent|