Roy Pierunek (middle) shares a laugh with friends while being asked about the City of Brandon's 2013 budget over coffee at Shoppers Mall on Monday afternoon.
Now that city council has given tentative approval to the 2013 budget, the Brandon Sun went out to see what taxpayers thought of the city’s financial plan.
The mill rate increase will be just under one per cent, which is a significant difference from 2012’s net increase of 4.9 per cent.
Janet Reimer, a Brandonite for the last 15 years, said small increases are easier to take.
"Rather than you wait and you wait and you wait and we don’t get any increase, and all of a sudden … boom," she said. "That’s a little more of a shocker … It’s not going up a huge amount, it’s a little bit. You understand that everything goes up and you’re going to have to pay for it and that’s one of the ways that we do."
Homeowners with a property assessed at $200,000 will pay $1,733 in property taxes, up $17 from last year. If your home is assessed at $250,000 that means $21 more than last year.
Marty Williams has lived in Brandon for the past year and isn’t pleased about the tax increase.
"Everything’s going up. Nothing stays the same. Nothing ever goes down," he said. "I think they should stop gouging people. That’s what they should stop doing."
One thing Williams was glad to see included in the budget this year is the $500,000 for infrastructure projects like sidewalks, street resurfacing and drainage.
"The infrastructure in Brandon is falling apart," he said. "I don’t know what the answer is I just know when I’m going through all those pot holes and all the bad spots in all the roads … I think they should be doing something."
Roy Pierunek, a resident of Brandon for the past 25 years, said he’s happy with the 2013 budget.
"I don’t think it’s that bad," he said, adding he too is pleased to see more infrastructure dollars set aside.
Pierunek said this year’s budget process was a lot smoother than in 2012. Council held a community roundtable discussion in advance of the public forum in an effort to hear from the general public before budget deliberations.
"It went a lot better this year, I think, than last year," Pierunek said.
Council’s deliberations on Sat. Jan. 12, resulted in funding changes to the following budget areas:
- An additional $75,000 into the Affordable Housing reserve fund.
- $500,000 in additional infrastructure funding for streets, sidewalks and drainage projects (on top of the $500,000 commitment made in the 2012 budget).
- $25,000 in additional funding to begin implementation of the city’s Economic Development Strategy.
- An addition of $30,525 to the city’s rent equalization grant for the Western Manitoba Regional Library.
- $50,000 in new funding to run a four-month pilot project for Sunday bus service.
- $90,000 in funding for the Brandon General Museum and Archives Inc.
- A $1,200 increase in funding for the city’s Heritage Administration contract.
- $25,000 in new funding to begin work on Building Code Equivalency Standards.
- An increase in the allowable borrowing for the former Convergys building renovation to allow for the creation of a Youth Centre and other leasable space.
- A reduction of $400,000 to be spread across the City’s Reserve Funds.
- A $600,000 reduction in labour costs across the organization.
- A $75,000 reduction in snow clearing and sanding.
- A reduction of $5,000 within the Human Resources Department’s budget.
- A $25,000 reduction in overall conference and convention costs.
- A $25,000 reduction within the Information Technology budget.
- A reduction of $20,000 within the Council Expenses budget.
- A reduction of $50,000 within the Urban Renewal budget (funding provided to Renaissance Brandon and matched by the Province of Manitoba).
» City of Brandon
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 15, 2013