Belleville’s mayor says he is pleased with the progress being made on the 2018 operating budget deliberations underway at city hall.
Following the first day of the two-day budget debate, Mayor Taso Christopher told Quinte News Tuesday the city is expanding both with industrial and residential growth and the budget reflects that.
He says he’s pleased with the two transit issues before council, expanding the Belleville Senators shuttle bus and the summer Tourist Trolley.
Transit manager Paul Buck shared that more than half the $60,000 was a one-time cost for the bus wrap and the audio system.
Mayor Christopher pointed out to Quinte News the city still has an issue with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation or MPAC allowing many large industries to get their property assessment for tax purposes changed.
MPAC has in the past lowered some assessments from the city’s figures.
Throughout the day councillors cut about $1 million from the budget.
These cuts included a proposed downtown development coordinator to do marketing strategy.
Among the items that won support were $150,000 for a sewer study for the future development of lands at Quinte Exhibition, Wilson Concrete, Nortel and the former Sir Mackenzie Bowell School.
Sixty-thousand dollars was approved for the Seasonal Tourist Trolley.
Council supported more money to expand the Belleville Senators Park and Ride bus to include the Bayview Mall and the downtown Transit Station.
Buck said the original bus shuttle for the Quinte Mall has ended up serving 10,000 riders and had actually made a profit.
The budget request was for a total of $36,000 for four buses – two on the original route and two on the new one – but that did not take into consideration any possible sponsorship.
There will be four shuttle buses for the Sens games, the present ones leaving from Quinte Mall, and the new ones leaving from Bayview Mall which will head downtown to the transit station then to the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre.
The operations budget debate continues Wednesday.