Kingston City Council to debate 2023 Operating and Capital Budgets – Day 2

Kingston City Hall. Kingstonist file photo.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, Kingston city councillors will take part in the second night of 2023-2024 budget meetings, as the Committee of the Whole receives the 2023 Operating and Capital Budgets, excluding municipally-owned utilities. As part of Tuesday’s deliberations, councillors are being asked to support a $426,809,207 General Municipal Operating Budget, as well as a $114,718,442 Capital Budget. 

The operating budget is meant to establish “operating revenue and expenditure estimates for the 2023 fiscal year,” notes a staff report circulating in advance of Tuesday’s meeting. The 2023 operating budget reflects a 2.3 per cent increase over 2022 tax rates. “The 2023 recommended operating budget continues to reflect the previous Council’s direction to maintain an overall tax rate increase of no more than 2.3 per cent inclusive of the 1 per cent increase for infrastructure investment,” adds the report. 

While the 2.3 per cent tax increase is in line with directions set by the previous council, the increase could climb to 3 per cent, as City staff are also recommending an additional 0.7 per cent increase to “support ongoing homelessness services and supportive housing initiatives.” 

The $426.8 million operating budget, excluding utilities, is offset by non-tax revenues of $151 million, meaning the City must raise $276 million through “taxation and payments in lieu of taxes (PILs) from other levels of government.” In terms of the services being funded through the operating budget, the report notes approximately 56 per cent, or $154 million, will be used to cover services managed by the City. Meanwhile, $52 million will fund capital infrastructure projects, while $70 million will go toward services provided by external agencies and boards. 

On Tuesday night, councillors will also be asked to approve a capital budget of $114.7 million for City services, excluding those managed by Utilities Kingston. Capital plans include estimates for a variety of City services and infrastructure projects. The 2023 capital budget includes $54 million in spending on routine City services and assets, such as roads, parks, and facilities and City technology.

In addition, the 2023 capital budget includes investment in the following strategic projects:

  • Construction of Gardiners Road and Centennial Drive intersection: $15 million
  • New parks investment: $3 million
  • Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Transit Stream projects: $15.1 million, with $9.6 million of grant funding
  • Investment in affordable and supportive housing subsidy: $10 million
  • Housing initiatives supported by provincial grants: $2 million
  • County of Frontenac — new ambulance station and vehicle: $3.2 million

To fully finance the 2023 Municipal Capital Budget, $99.9 million will come from the General Municipal Reserve Funds, while $150,000 will be directed from the City’s working fund reserve. $13.9 million in government grants are expected to fund the capital budget, alongside $718,808 in other contributions.

Along with the 2023 Operating and Capital Budgets, staff have also provided councillors with a three-year forecast, which projects a tax increase of 5 per cent in 2024, 3.7 per cent in 2025, and 3.6 per cent in 2026. The staff report states, “As a result of the upcoming strategic planning process, Council priorities and direction will influence future operating budgets. The targeted tax rate increase and related financial parameters will be determined as part of the Council strategic priority setting sessions and projections will be reviewed and adjusted as part of the 2024 budget process.”

Councillors will debate the 2023 Operating and Capital budgets, as well as the proposed tax increase for supportive housing, during a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, at 6 p.m., inside Council Chambers. The Committee of the Whole will also receive a 15-year capital expenditure forecast, a listing of current capital works in progress, and the municipal reserve fund schedules of continuity.

According to the Municipal Act, 2001, City Council must approve both the operating and capital budgets, as well as any associated bylaw changes.

As always, the meeting can be streamed live on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel. A third meeting for the City of Kingston 2023-2023 budget deliberations is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Mar. 1, 2023, but only if necessary (should deliberations not wrap up on Tuesday night).

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