In spite of opposition to tax and water rate increases, Thunder Bay city council has endorsed the proposed 2012 budget.  It involves a 2.6 per cent tax increase.  That's an extra $65 on an average residential property.

Council spent about six hours Tuesday night pouring over the last pages of its budget before voting on it. It passed a first round of voting, 11-2. Councillors Rebecca Johnson and Aldo Ruberto were opposed to the budget.

Ruberto said he doesn't like the 2.6 per cent tax increase.

"The strategy is, every single year, go back to the well, go to the tax payer," Ruberto said. "That cannot continue."


Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs (Brent Linton/Canadian Press)

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs voted in support of the budget and said the tax increase is necessary.

"We need to improve our infrastructure for sure," Hobbs said. "We got the mining industry coming in [and] … our tax base is growing. We have to prepare this city."

Hobbs said he doesn't like the budget's water rate increase of almost seven per cent, however. He said he wants council to consider amendments to that before the budget gets ratified in two weeks.  The ratification vote is on March 5.