Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's hit hard by 2016 provincial budget

St. John's finance committee chair Jonathan Galgay says new taxes and fees will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Councillor says new taxes and fees will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars

Ward two councillor Jonathan Galgay is chair of the city of St. John's finance committee. (Meghan McCabe/CBC)

The 2016 provincial budget will have a big impact on the city of St. John's, says the chair of the city's finance committee.

Jonathan Galgay says the city will take a hard look at the budget and have more to say later but he says it's already clear that the measures announced Thursday will cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars more annually.

Galgay has totalled some of the main examples: 

  • Increased gasoline and diesel tax will cost the city about $100,000 more each year.
  • The province will charge the city $2 more per ticket to process parking tickets, which will mean an additional cost of approximately $130,000 annually.
  • The additional 15% tax on insurance will also cost the city at least $100,000 more each year.

On the brighter side

Despite that, Galgay did have some positive things to say about the new budget.

 We can appreciate the need to be fiscally responsible.- Jonathan Galgay

"We are pleased to see that the premier is taking a strategic approach to the provincial deficit. Being faced with similar challenges – although on a much smaller scale – we can appreciate the need to be fiscally responsible," he said.

"Further program review is a good move; We too are taking this approach and our own program review is currently underway."

Although the province's plan to construct the Goulds Bypass has been cancelled, Galgay said the city is pleased to see that there will be continued investment in municipal infrastructure, with a $625 million commitment.

"Many of the projects we must take on in the next two to three years require matching funds from the province and federal government to be achievable. We are pleased by the $23 million commitment to complete Team Gushue Highway," he said.

Galgay said the city is concerned about how snow clearing cutbacks will affect the city and its residents.

"We need more information on how the province plans to eliminate 24-hour snow clearing. What will that mean for the major arteries running through the city, including Pitts Memorial Drive, the Outer Ring Road and the Team Gushue highway?" he asked.

Galgay said the city will have more to say about the budget after officials take a closer look at it.