Infrastructure maintenance vital to city’s 2020 vision

Sarnia City Hall. (BlackburnNews file photo)

A property tax hike of 3.8 per cent is proposed heading into Sarnia Council 2020 budget deliberations Tuesday.

Finance Director Suzanna Dieleman said that’s down from what was originally recommended.

“Just some small changes that have been identified that we were able to bring the costs down for the city we’ve just incorporated, and it’s about $100,000 total,” said Dieleman.

She said the budget has a strong focus on addressing the city’s critical infrastructure with an expanded capital program.

“A lot of that is driving some of the increases that we see in the budget. For example, the total value of the capital project requests for 2020, are in excess of $45-million dollars and that is an unprecedented level of capital investment for the city.”

Dieleman said council will consider about 25 specific items in the operating budget.

“Probably the biggest one is the dedicated asset management funding that we’re looking for. That’s 2 per cent of the 3.8 per cent increase that is being recommended for the tax levy increase. It is for supporting the city with proactive asset management activities like maintaining our roads better, updating our infrastructure, like streets and winter maintenance.”

Prior to cuts, the budget represents an increase of $37 per $100,000 of residential assessment on the municipal portion of the property tax bill.

Budget deliberations get underway at 9 a.m. at city hall.