Iqaluit passes $40 million budget for 2013
Tax rates up by 1.5 mills, water rates up 2 per cent
Iqaluit city council approved an operating budget for the City of Iqaluit that totals about $40 million, after a special council meeting that ended Jan. 31, a city news release said.
City staff presented council members, who sat as Finance Committee of the Whole, with the proposed 2013 budget at sessions held Jan. 23, 24 and 31.
Based on the information provided and discussions, the finance committee of council voted to approve the 2013 City of Iqaluit budget.
This year, some changes are:
• an increase in the mill rate of 1.5;
• a two per cent decrease in the residential water subsidy rate;
• a two per cent increase in water rates.
(A mill rate is the amount per each $1,000 of a property’s assessed value that is used to calculate municipal taxes.)
The city plans to move forward with capital projects that will improve water distribution and solid waste management, as well as conduct an environmental assessment and complete economic development and sustainability plans, Mayor John Graham said.
As well, council will be moving forward with the design and construction of the new aquatic centre, he said.
Graham added that city councillors are committed to ensuring that “Iqalummiut are provided the best levels of municipal services and that the administration has the tools to do their job.”
Councillor Kenny Bell didn’t agree with all of the spending increases passed in this year’s budget during the special council committee meeting.
“I thought we could cut some cost to get to a 1 mill rate increase, which I would have supported. We only needed approximately $270,000 less,” he said.
There were some debates during the budget meetings.
“We debated in circles over a few small things and in the end only cut an $18,000 skidoo, which I was in support of keeping and an $11,000 storage cut, which I wanted cut,” Bell said.
Council was in favour of hiring three new firefighters, an enforcement person and someone to run the dog pound.
“We also added a couple of things to the budget. We wanted city hall access for people with disabilities so administration will be looking into adding a chair lift for approximately $140,000,” he said.
A new filtration system at the causeway to handle water run-off from the dump is also in the works Bell said. That will cost about $140,000 to install plus $35,000 a year for maintenance.