Proposed Humboldt budget would require 1.8% tax increase, includes $1.4 million in repaving projects

HUMBOLDT — City staff will present a proposed 2021 budget that will require a 1.8 per cent increase in property tax levies – around $128,000 more.

The proposal also includes around $1.4 million in repaving projects, almost $715,000 in water main replacements, $350,000 for an outdoor rink/multi-sport court, and the paving of Landmark Place that’s funded by property owners.

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“The draft 2021 budget is targeted at keeping the city’s services operating at traditional levels while also completing some high-priority capital projects,” a release from the city said.

City council will be discussing the proposed budget at meetings scheduled for Monday, Dec. 7 and Tuesday, Dec. 8. The deliberations will be broadcast online.

The proposal is expecting to generate more than $16.5 million in revenues in 2021, around $13.0 million in operating expenses, leaving approximately $3.7 million for debt repayment and reserve contributions.

The city’s total debt at the start of 2021 will be at $3.3 million. At the end of the year, it’s expected to be around $2.97 million. If the city is approved for provincial and federal funding for sewage lagoon upgrades, it would have to take out a $7.5 million loan to pay for its share of $9.1 million.

The city has started to earmark revenue to be used to pay for the city’s anticipated portion of the project.

“If approved by the senior levels of government, the Wastewater enhancements will be the largest project that the community has experienced in recent memory,” said Joe Day, the city manager, in a release. “Administration believes we have developed a strategy that can get this work accomplished without imposing a significant burden upon taxpayers.”

The city will also have to deal with the extra winkle of property value reassessment in 2021. In the last reassessment, 2016, reassessments affected certain classes of properties more than others, resulting in major tax hikes for certain businesses. The city ended up spliting those businesses off in a separate tax category the next year to reduce the tax increase.

“Some properties will experience much higher tax increases and some properties will experience tax decreases. Those impacts will be evaluated at a later date and administration will provide council with options to control any dramatic shifts,” the proposed budget documents said.

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