St. John’s budget passes unanimously with no increase in residential, commercial tax rates

The 2020 budget for the City of St. John’s, passed unanimously at Monday’s council meeting, has no increase in residential or commercial rates. 

The residential rate will remain at 7.7 mills and the commercial rate will stay at 26.1 mills. Water taxes will remain the same as in 2019, $605, which was a $25 increase from the year before.

The city’s overall spending for 2020 is projected to be $305,578,936, up by 0.3 per cent from 2019. 

Improvements to public transit

The budget also calls for the city to roll out some enhancements to the public transit system starting March 2. Transit rides will be free for children under 12, with drivers using their discretion as to who appears to be the eligible age.

Another initiative, beginning Sept. 7, will see buses travel the main routes more frequently during peak hours. The city will purchase another bus to keep up with the demand. Also, riders are able to take public transit to Galway.

These recommendations come after the final report of the Public Transit Review, which was released in November.

“Public transit has been a particular focus point for this council,” said Coun. Dave Lane.

Although more money was put toward services, the cost of operating Metrobus is slightly down due to an increase in ridership over the last 16 months. 

However, there was an 11.6 per cent increase to the GoBus operating budget.

Together those services total for $18.34 million in 2020.

St. John’s Sports and Entertainment “remains a challenge”: Lane

However, despite the negotiation of a 10-year lease with the St. John’s Edge and the Newfoundland Growlers, the economic environment for St. John’s Sports and Entertainment is still challenging, Lane said.

The operating budget is up substantially due to the new 10-year lease with the sporting teams, fewer non-sporting events at Mile One and the convention centre, and investments in sales and marketing, the city said.

The city predicts it will have to add about $1 million to the operating subsidy fund for SJSE in 2020. 

The city will also be reinstating the art procurement program.

Parking meters

The city predicts losing more than $1.1 million due to vandalized parking meters because fees are not being collected and fewer parking tickets are being given out.

New pay stations will begin to roll out this winter, and full installation should be complete by the end of next year.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

St. John’s budget passes unanimously with no increase in residential, commercial tax rates

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/2020-city-st-johns-budget-1.5381093?cmp=rss
Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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