Well, the dust has settled from our final budget of this term, and with a 1.92% increase to taxes in 2022, the City of Brandon cost’s will remain affordable, while also be buoyed by the largest capital expenditures in our community’s history. It also marks a combined 2.42% increase over the past four years of this council’s term.
The average home should expect roughly $36 a year more on their tax bills (based on a 270,000 home).
Some highlights of budget 2022 include (but are not limited to).
- $50,000 towards LED lighting for our community centre outdoor rinks
- funding towards medium-term relief for our BFES crews who have been strained immensely throughout the pandemic (through reallocation of funding to front line where it is needed most). This will allow for four term additions to the manning of ambulances in our city. This shift in resources does not add cost to residents, moreover realigns priorities to assist front-line supports.
- Project alignment to capitalize on $4.1 million dollars in funding towards affordable housing opportunities in our community.
- A further $75,000 towards sidewalk maintenance and repair, pushing the annual sidewalk work budget to over $500,000.
- A further $100,000 towards road maintenance, milling, pothole work, paving and replacement, pushing the annual milling and paving budget to $1 million dollars annually.
- $50,000 in funding to assist the work of the Community Wellness Collaborative.
- $20,000 towards the annual Truth and Reconciliation events as well as a further $15,000 for staff training around the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
- $10,000 grant for the Brandon Food Council.
- $100,000 combined investment in museum spaces in our community.
- $8,000 towards the Brandon Age Friendly Committee.
- $100,000 more to budget for snow clearing work.
- A combined half-million dollars into downtown initiatives to help leverage the opportunities in our downtown post-pandemic.
- $20,000 towards lighting augmentation in back lanes.
- $100,000 for further sump pit and backwater valve program (with an ability to scale up should demand outstrip this funding allotment).
- $3 million dollars in investment borrowing to complete a number of initiatives to improve the Brandon Community Sportsplex.
- $500,000 in capital grants to the Keystone Centre.
- $50,000 for the beginnings of a pathway lighting program for our walking paths in the city.
- Further work to leverage the $30 million dollars of borrowing to improve drainage needs in our community.
- Further work to leverage the (tri-level funding) of the construction of a new water treatment facility in the city (a $125 million dollar project).
- A lead pipe replacement program whereby residents will be able to partner with the city to help get rid of lead service lines to their house.
- Work to leverage dollars for the Southwest Lift Station, thus making growth able to continue.
- Historic investment in back lane work including close to $100,000 in calcium chloride applications for summer 2022. This will help mitigate dust in back lanes throughout the city.
- Ground-breaking for our outdoor recreation space (soccer park) in summer 2022.
Overall, capital investment in our community is poised to see some of the largest projects in our history come online in the next few years. As a council, we felt managing the overall strain on residents while ensuring our city continues to grow was paramount to this budget. Some projects did require borrowing as they are out of the scope of municipalities to accomplish on their own, but given our current low-level of civic borrowing, low interest rates, and opportunity to rebound out of the pandemic, council and administration felt this was the opportune time to align these projects.
Locally we have new sidewalk working happening along Lorne Ave. in the ward, sidewalk repairs throughout the ward, underground work on Clark Drive to assist with sewer issues there, furthering the construction of a long wanted pathway in Coronation Park, growth items and repairs throughout (more to come on that front). Lastly, the long-awaited crosswalk improvements at McDiarmid Drive and Victoria Ave. are poised to come online in the next couple of weeks.
This is the final budget of my first term on council. Although it has not been an easy one with over half our term in the middle of a global pandemic, I’m hopeful to see this work through and continue to work to grow our community in recovery, post-pandemic, should the opportunity to continue to serve present itself.
As always, if you ever have any questions I welcome the call or email.
Take care, stay safe.