Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay's 2019 budget proposes 2.95% tax increase

Expect your tax bill to go up by about three percent this year in Thunder Bay, Ont., after city administration released its 2019 budget proposal.

Increases to capital, policing, paramedics part of budget increase

The proposed tax increase for the 2019 Thunder Bay city budget sits at 2.95% after factoring in assessment growth. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Expect your tax bill to go up by about three percent this year in Thunder Bay, Ont., after city administration released its 2019 budget proposal.

The actual increase is 3.25%, but after adjustments are made for assessment growth, or the amount of available taxable properties, the increase goes down by 0.3%.

The budget has some increases for 2019, including:

  • Water rates to go up 3%, yearly increase of about $35
  • Field, parks, and cemetery fees to go up approx. 3%
  • Monthly parking rates to increase by $1
  • Landfill tipping fees to go up 3%
  • Boater fees at Prince Arthur's Landing to see 5% jump

This year's budget will have a bigger focus on reserve funds than previous years, with the city re-investing in the Renew Thunder Bay fund, as well as the waterworks reserve fund and sewer reserve fund.

The city will also increase its capital spending this year compared to last. In 2019, spending is pegged at over $55 million, with nearly half of that allocated to road and sidewalk improvements.

Other capital projects include:

  • Boulevard Lake dam repairs
  • New pumper truck
  • New ambulances and emergency trailers
  • Continuing with studies on indoor turf facility
  • Roof improvements at Fort William Gardens
  • Online ticketing program for Fort William Gardens
  • Accessibility features at Volunteer Pool
  • Transit hub and transit stop improvements

The budget also includes additional staff at the city, such as an Indigenous Relations manager at a cost of $145,000 per year, and more paramedics, as well as more police officers and support staff.

The budget also deals with increasing costs, such as an additional million dollars required for the city's recycling contract. The Police Service will also require an additional $900,000 in funding for support staff. 

The city projects it will spend less on insurance and legal fees this year, along with the long-term care budget seeing a decrease, along with the engineering division.

The budget also proposes more spending on some items:

  • Image routes and Clean, Green and Beautiful fund to see additional $61,000
  • Monitoring of key pathways near waterways for $150,000
  • Study to look at expansion or other options for Balmoral Police Headquarters
  • Rat population study at a cost of $5,000
  • Indoor turf facility studies

City council will have its first budget meeting on Tuesday night, with ratification of the 2019 budget expected at the end of the month.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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