City of Brantford’s Estimates Committee endorsed the city’s 2022 Operating Budget during their regular meeting on Wednesday, February 9.
Following an extensive public engagement campaign whereby over 1,000 residents participated, and several weeks of meetings the committee agreed to the budget to deliver value to taxpayers in the implementation of priority programs and services that reflect the community’s feedback.
At the beginning of the City operating budget process on February 1, 2022, the tax increase starting point for the average residential property was 2.10%. Following several weeks of meetings, direction provided by Estimates Committee members, recommendations from staff and a comprehensive review of the City’s 7,500-line item budget, on February 9, 2022 City operating budget of $173,183,806 was endorsed, resulting in a 1.98% tax increase to the average residential property.
The 1.98% budget increase is reflective of priorities as identified by the community, including:
- investing in ambulance services
- approval of an additional 8 Brantford Police Services special constables
- approval of 8 additional full time Brantford Fire firefighters
- increase in support of the Brant County Health Unit
- investment in Canadian Red Cross to support emergency evacuation centre
- investment in the implementation of a weekly curbside Green Bin collection program for residential food and organic wastes, beginning November 1, 2023
- increased investment in City services including by-law enforcement, downtown security services, the Red-Light Camera Program to enhance traffic calming and mitigate speeding, and other programs that directly impact residents’ quality of life.
The City controlled portion of the budget increased by 1.2%.
“I’d like to thank City staff, Committee Chair Greg Martin, and Council for all their hard work, as well as our community for their input to the budget process”, said Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis. “Given the fiscal challenges associated with the current rate of inflation, I’m very proud of this outcome and commend City staff for their diligent work to find budget efficiencies while in many cases actually increasing service levels. Each year the budget process is a reflection of key issues in the community and I think the theme of this year’s budget is community safety. The approved investments in this year’s City budget that focus on building a healthier, safer and more sustainable Brantford demonstrate that we have heard the community’s feedback loud and clear.”
Municipalities are required by provincial law to prepare balanced budgets on a yearly basis. During the City budget process, the net expenditure (expenses less all available revenues) required to deliver annual City services is calculated and used to determine a tax rate. This tax rate is levied on all properties to raise the net expenditures required. Unlike other levels of government that can run a deficit, municipalities cannot borrow money to fund annual operating expenses.
Before implementation, the operating budget will require final ratification by City Council at their Special Council meeting to be held on February 23, 2022.