Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fredericton City Council Approves 2011 Budget

Fredericton City Council has voted to reduce the City’s tax rate by 0.5 cents for 2011: the first such decrease to the tax rate in more than two decades. The new inside tax rate will be $1.4211 per $100 of assessment and the outside tax rate will be $1.0658 per $100 of assessment.

The rate and other aspects of Fredericton’s 2011 budget were approved as part of a special Budget meeting held today at Fredericton City Hall. The City’s approved general fund budget for 2011 is $97,972,486, with the approved water and sewer utility budget totalling $11,171,107. The budgets include both operating and capital amounts.

“The City’s 2011 Budget has been designed with an eye to the future,” said Coun. Mike O’Brien, Chair of the City’s Finance & Administration Committee. “The world is experiencing unstable economic times and our residents expect Council to be part of the solution. We have to tackle our infrastructure deficit, ease the tax burden on our residents, and continue to grow Fredericton.”

A total of $14,571,125 worth of capital projects were approved by City Council for 2011. This included various infrastructure projects, both renewal and replacement, along with extensions to meet the needs of a growing city.

Key capital projects will include work related to Phase II of the St. Mary’s Street Reconstruction, Brookside Drive Reconstruction (Phase V), Clark Street and McLeod Hill Road Reconstruction, plus various intersection and neighbourhood safety improvements, sidewalk extensions, and signalization and intersection upgrades.

New lights will be installed at the Prospect Street Field, along with the decommissioning of lights at Queens Square, and a feasibility study for a new indoor pool. Funds for the final phase of an automated building permit and work order system, as well as a tourism e-strategy were approved.

Key changes included the elimination of 13 summer students and two administrative positions at the Fredericton Fire Department, Transit Route 18 & 20 service cuts to Silverwood, cuts to ISO Certification audit fees and the City’s green program, as well as a reduction or elimination of funds for the Fredericton Botanical Garden, the new Bobby Burns statue base, the Regent Street wharf installation, and Community School Playgrounds.

Council also approved the Water & Sewer Utility for 2011, which is self-funded by user rates. The total budget for 2011 is $11,171,107. Water and sewer rates will each increase from 66 cents to 71 cents per cubic meter (m³), for a combined rate of $1.42 per m³. This is the third year of a five-year increase to help address the utility’s $119 million infrastructure deficit.

Council approved a $1,807,772 water & sewer capital budget. Key capital projects in the Water & Sewer Utility for 2011 include Phase II of the Devon Trunk Sanitary Sewer & Water Main, Forest Hill Water & Sewer Renewal, the construction of the Northbrook Reservoir, in the Brookside Drive area, and the co-funded extension of water and sewer service along McLeod Hill Road.

Budget 2011 marked the City’s first fully open budget process, which started at the end of August and involved weeks of planning and nine budget meetings. For more on the City of Fredericton 2011 budget, visit www.fredericton.ca and look for the Budget 2011 feature.

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