UPDATE: Budget Deliberations Set to Begin in Windsor
It's budget day for the City of Windsor.
Council members will meet Monday and Tuesday to review the draft 2019 budget that calls for a proposed 3.3% tax increase.
The works out for $90 more for a home assessed at $150,000.
But Mayor Drew Dilkens has said he wants to lower that proposed tax hike to under 2%, which means council would have to find between $4-million and $6-million in savings.
The police budget increase for 2019 is $5.5-million -- which is a 6.6% hike -- but Dilkens says he fully supports it to get 24 additional officers on the city's streets.
The city did receive some good news at the end of March.
The federal budget would increase the amount of money municipalities receive from the gas tax fund, and City Treasurer Joe Mancina says it virtually doubles the amount the city has to spend by $13.5-million -- to around $27-million.
Included in the draft budget is a 17% increase in the sewer surcharge.
Ward 1 Councillor Fred Francis expects a lively debate over the proposed increase in the sewer surcharge designed to help reduce flooding.
With two major floods in Windsor in recent years, he says upgrades are necessary.
The 17% sewer surcharge increase would boost funding for flood mitigation from $60-million to $70-million.
He says there are wants and needs and the sewer surcharge increase is a need.
"In a year when we are seeing what the sewer surcharge requirements are, you probably want the property tax levy to come in less to offset the increases that people are going to feel as a result of the increase in the sewer surcharge," says Francis pointing out that a top priority for council is reducing basement flooding.
"I think that people recognize that that is priority number 1 and that is something that we should move forward with, to do what we can to end basement flooding and we are going to have to do that year after year."
Francis would like to see the overall budget increase reduced from the proposed 3.3%, down to the inflation rate of around 2%
He believes that is possible given that there are $21-million in added expenditures in this year's budget ranging from 40 to 50 new hires.
City council will begin its budget meeting at 1pm Monday by listening to more than a dozen delegations before crunching the numbers during deliberations.
A second budget meeting is set for 1pm on Tuesday.
--With files from AM800's Teresinha Medeiros