With a 25% reduction in capital spending in 2023 (caused by inflation & supply chain issues), I was pleased to introduce a corresponding motion to also reduce the 1% annual compounding infrastructure levy in order to bring $1.4M savings to the 2023 budget. With the final budget increase (on top of assessment growth) being 4.46%.
As staff alluded to on budget night. The City’s reserve funds are healthy & the identified infrastructure gap is closing (approx +60% sustainable funding). With most of this progress being made over the past 7 years.
But as I’ve mentioned many times. Sustainable infrastructure renewal & city Growth must also remain affordable.
We cannot tax & borrow 50yrs of City renewal/growth over 10yrs.
That is why I’ve been stating for a few years now. The pace of our city building agenda is not sustainable for most residents from a financial perspective. Residents who are already navigating the soaring cost of housing & the inflation driven spikes in their monthly mortgage, groceries, fuel & other costs.
For me the decision to reduce the pace of the infrastructure renewal levy was simple. If the city decides it’s financially prudent to slow down infrastructure spending (to save on costs), the savings should also be shared with residents. Not simply used to continually fill healthy reserves.
And while I voted against the 2023 budget, moving forward I’m hopeful that through strategic planning & the next multi-year budget (2024-2026), council will come to a longer term consensus on the affordability of the current City Building & Infrastructure Renewal agenda from a pace & capacity to pay perspective.