Continuing a grant program for local artists and enhancing homelessness support services are two of the changes made to the City of Peterborough’s draft 2023 budget during a series of meetings held by city council’s finance committee this week that concluded on Wednesday night (January 18).
Other significant changes include providing no increase for transit expenses, deferring a water and sewer service upgrade project for the Peterborough Airport, and deferring the city’s contribution to the Eastern Ontario Regional Network cell gap initiative.
The changes will reduce the originally proposed increase to the city’s all-inclusive property tax rate from four per cent to 3.15 per cent, which would add $53.24 per year for each $100,000 of residential assessment. For example, a home assessed at $600,000 would see an additional $319 annually in property tax. This compares to a 2.87 per cent property tax increase approved in the 2022 budget.
Some of the changes made by city council’s finance committee to the draft budget include:
- Holding Peterborough Transit expenses at the 2022 level, reducing the 2023 net requirement by $951,000.
- Deferring an $800,000 project to upgrade water and sewer service to the Peterborough Airport, until a land deal is reached to bring the airport property within city boundaries.
- Using $200,000 from the social services reserve to add a third worker at the overflow shelter program and Brock Mission to provide better support for referrals to services, assist with housing searches, develop more of a harm-reduction focus, address service restrictions differently, and other functions.
- Deferring a proposed $150,000 project for the next stage of the development of a Downtown Heritage Conservation District Plan.
- Deferring a $140,900 contribution to the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) cell gap initiative.
- Establishing a permanent annual individual artist grant program at $50,000 a year through a three-year agreement with Electric City Culture Council, using funding from the capital budget in 2023 and including the program in the operating budget in 2024 and 2025.
- Removing a plan to provide $55,000 a year to the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) for three years for a new “systems navigator” staff position that would help downtown businesses navigating social issues.
- Contributing up to $10,000 from the capital levy reserve for the creation of a monument recognizing the impact of occupational disease on individuals and families.
Finance committee will meet on Monday (January 23) to consider the Peterborough Police Service budget, and the city’s 2023 draft budget will be considered for approval by city council the following Monday.