Councillor says City should revisit two per cent tax cap before next term

One city councillor says the City's strict policy of capping taxes at two per cent needs to be discussed before the next term of council.

City budgets have been locked into the mayor's promise of a two per cent increase but on Wednesday, Coun. Keith Egli said he’d like to revisit the matter.

"Going to the next term of council, I think it's a discussion that we have to have," said chair of the transportation committee, Coun. Egli.

Egli’s comments came on the heels of a lengthy transportation committee meeting.

As committee considered the draft 2018 transportation budget, city staff heard a chorus of complaints from councillors and advocates who were concerned the City is underspending on road maintenance and snow clearing.

"We simply can't allow the underfunding to continue," said resident Ken Holmes, who spoke at committee. "We can't hope to maintain ... road infrastructure in a good state of repair when our budgeting is continually based on kicking the deficit can down the road."

The City plans to add $12.6M into infrastructure renewal which includes fixing roads and patching potholes.

It also plans to increase the winter maintenance budget by $4M but some skeptics say it isn't enough.

"We can hear all you like here that the staff are satisfied that it will be fine - it's not going to be fine," said Coun. Diane Deans. "It hasn't been fine the last few years. It's not going to be fine this year either. The number is too low in the budget."

Egli said he's confident in the snow maintenance budge but wants to revisit the two per cent tax cap.

"We've looked at the other options as to how to deal with our budgets, so I think it's a question we have to have going into the term," said Egli.

The transportation committee passed its budget Wednesday afternoon and council will vote on the matter Dec. 13.