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Status quo budget will see 6.37 per cent tax increase; finance committee looking for 4.37 per cent hike

Maintaining the existing level of city services in 2022 will require a 6.37 per cent tax increase, according to a report going to Prince George council tonight.

However, the finance and audit committee is not recommending taking that action. In its report to council the committee is recommending that council directs administration to prepare a report providing an option for a one million dollar reduction to the police services operating budget and to prepare a report providing options for a 4.37 per cent tax increase to the estimated general operating levy.

A tax increase of 4.37 per cent would require staff to trim approximately $2.5 million from existing levels of service.

A big hit to this year’s budget is completely out of control of the city. In August, RCMP members ratified a six-year deal, which includes a 23.78 per cent pay increase for RCMP members. The contract is retroactive to 2017, and municipalities are required to make a one-time payment to members to cover the cost of pay increases from 2017 to 2021. For Prince George, it’s a $2.4 million hit to the budget.

In addition, the RCMP will be seeking four additional members this year, which would add 805,000 to the budget.

Staff is also looking for increases to the general base budget as well as infrastructure replacement, snow removal, and road rehabilitation.

Council will discuss the reports at tonight’s public meeting.

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