It's budget time for communities across the north, and tax increases are being discussed. 

North Bay has already said taxpayers could see an 8% increase and Sault Ste. Marie is looking at a 3.5% increase, much like the one proposed for Sudbury.

The City of Greater Sudbury is gathering input from the public on what the priorities should be in the new $628 million budget.

A City Services Fair at the New Sudbury Centre features information about 24 different areas of service provided by the city and how taxes are spent.

Liisa Lenz is the budgets coordinator for the Greater City of Sudbury.

“In terms of budget public input, we have never held an event like this, where we have coordinated all of the city services to come out in one place. So, the intent is to be able to reach out to the public and let them understand what their tax dollars pay for and the services they get for that.” said Lenz.

The proposed budget is over half a billion dollars with a 3.5% tax increase.

Mike Jakubo represents Sudbury’s Ward Seven and is the finance committee chair.

“You would be surprised that over one third of your tax bill goes toward emergency services. Those are the services people want to have available in an instant, but really never want to have to use in their lifetime.” said Jakubo.

The Sudbury councillor hopes contact with taxpayers will help people better understand the cost of providing emergency services.

“We are mandated to provide those services and they take up a big chunk of your tax bill.” said Jakubo.

City council has identified infrastructure renewal as the top spending priority in this year's proposed budget.

Jim Lister is the city’s Manager of Financial Planning and Policy.

“Compared to other municipalities, our roads are in slightly worse shape and therefore need some rehabilitation and some effort put into them, and that's where the focus of the budget is this year.” said Lister.

Residents can view the proposed budget online at the city's website and have until February 12th to comment.

Budget deliberations begin February 19th.