Belleville has approved its 2018 operating budget with the average tax increase between just under 2% to just under 3%.
During its two days of budget debate, city council cut close to $1 million from the operating budget and dipped into the Casino reserve for $500,000.
This set the budget at $95 million and kept the four city-wide average tax rate increases under 3% for homeowners with an average assessment of $256,000.
Mayor Taso Christopher
Also the city decided not to pay the 2018 increases on Long Term Care Facilities.
Councillor Jack Miller noted there was a little more than $557,000 in the Casino infrastructure reserve fund and another payment would be coming to the city in the nest couple of weeks. Council agreed and passed a motion to use that amount.
During the final day of debate, council approved $91,000 for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network for its project on closing the gap in cell service.
Councillor Paul Carr called for updates on the project every six months “since it is very important for rural residents.”
Twenty seven municipalities are involved. The four year project will only go ahead if the provincial and federal governments provide some funding.
Council was told climate change is having an affect on the budget issues at Quinte Conservation.
Councillor Jackie Denyes, a member of the Conservation board, told Belleville city council during budget debate Wednesday, that drought and flood conditions over the past few years have hit the agency hard..
Denyes said out of 480 calls most were caused by these problems.
City council approved the 4.6% increase that the agency had submitted.
Tax rate increases:
Belleville urban: 1.5%
Canifton urban: 1.46%
Canifton rural: 2.10%