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Residents raise concerns about tax increase

City treasurer Dean Hammond speaks during Wednesday’s budget consultation.

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City treasurer Dean Hammond speaks during Wednesday’s budget consultation. (COLIN CORNEAU/ BRANDON SUN)

Members of the public listen to presentations in the foyer of city hall during a budget consultation on Wednesday evening.

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Members of the public listen to presentations in the foyer of city hall during a budget consultation on Wednesday evening. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)

If the 2013 proposed city budget goes forward as is, a resident with a home assessed at $228,500 would pay roughly $2,900 in taxes.

That’s including a municipal tax of $2,000, a school tax of $1,581, (based on the 2012 school division mill rate) and a $700 homeowner grant.

The city held its public budget consultation Wednesday evening, bringing out roughly 60 people, including city councillors and staff.

The city’s proposed 2013 operating budget is pegged at $72.2 million, which includes a mill rate increase of 1.99 per cent.

One resident in attendance was Garth Perrin, who said he isn’t pleased about another tax increase.

"I’ve lived here over 30 some years. I’ve never had a policeman at my door, I’ve never had an ambulance at my door, but if I did have to call them today … I’d get billed for it," he said.

Out of the $2,000 example that would be paid in municipal taxes, $725 will go to protective services.

"To me that’s totally unacceptable," he said. "I’m retired as well, how long am I going to be able to afford to live here, if my taxes continually, continually go up."

Stephen Johnson has lived in Brandon for more than 60 years. He expressed his concerns about the Wheat City golf course.

"I’m not sure that the city is the one that should be running a golf course … I don’t think the City of Brandon is well-suited to run businesses like that," he said.

Lt.-Col. John Schneiderbanger, former CFB Shilo base commander expressed concerns about deficits in city transit, Handi-Transit, the municipal airport and Sportsplex.

"We’ve got to live within our means and we’ve got to start looking at reducing those deficits, because some day those transfers may not be there," he said. "(The city) shouldn’t be relying on ... government transfers because one day it’s going to reduce. It’ll have an effect on our property taxes because we’re the ones that are going to foot the bill."

Schneiderbanger praised the city manager for implementing a three percent goal of either finding an additional three per cent in new revenues or a three per cent reduction in expenses across city departments.

However Schneiderbanger still believes there are reductions that could be made.

Luncheons, travel costs, mileage and conferences are a few examples he suggested.

"They’re small numbers in comparison … but small numbers add up and these numbers here, I have no doubt there’s room for manoeuvre," he said. "Although some of you might think it’s trivial … They’re not."

Funds to go toward repairing the Keystone Centre’s leaking roof may still need be added to the 2013 budget.

Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said she valued the advice and suggestions provided by the public.

"Myself and council are working hard to build the city that our residents want to live in," she said. "And getting this kind of feedback helps us do our job better."

Residents are still encouraged to weigh in on the 2013 budget by contacting their ward councillor.

City council will deliberate the budget on Jan. 11 and 12.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 13, 2012

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If the 2013 proposed city budget goes forward as is, a resident with a home assessed at $228,500 would pay roughly $2,900 in taxes.

That’s including a municipal tax of $2,000, a school tax of $1,581, (based on the 2012 school division mill rate) and a $700 homeowner grant.

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If the 2013 proposed city budget goes forward as is, a resident with a home assessed at $228,500 would pay roughly $2,900 in taxes.

That’s including a municipal tax of $2,000, a school tax of $1,581, (based on the 2012 school division mill rate) and a $700 homeowner grant.

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