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../Morning Post
Posted December 5 2011

Budgeting for 2012

City of Kitchener Drafts Operating Budget

KITCHENER – The draft operating budget for 2012 was tabled today in the finance and corporate services committee budget deliberations.

The draft budget outlines a property tax increase of 2.9 per cent, plus the annual contribution to EDIF of .97 per cent, bringing the increase up to 3.87 per cent. For an average Kitchener household, the property tax increase will mean an additional $37 per year, or $3 per month.

At the request of council, staff has provided options to reduce the increase by up to two per cent. "As it sits now, we are well positioned in terms of strategic direction, when it comes to balancing service levels and affordability," said Dan Chapman, city treasurer and deputy CAO, finance and corporate services.

The proposed budget continues to balance the city’s commitment to providing valued services and programs to residents, while also maintaining a reasonable level of property taxation and preserving its long-term financial well-being.

According to an Environics survey conducted in 2009, citizens value high services over low taxes by a ratio of more than 2:1. In response, the draft budget is fiscally responsible, while ensuring important programs and service levels are sustained.

In an effort to minimize the projected property tax increase, the following measures were adopted in the proposed 2012 budget:

No new services are being introduced
No additional staff positions (tax funded) are proposed
Reductions to controllable expenditures have been made across all city divisions

A key consideration in this budget is the fact that the city has been experiencing operating deficits in recent years. In response to this, staff has proposed an increase to the winter control budget to more closely reflect historic costs, and has continued with the plan to phase out our reliance on the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund as a source of annual operating revenue.

The figures referenced above may change when city council considers final budget approval on January 19.

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