Sault residents could be facing hefty tax increase
Residents of Sault Ste. Marie could be looking at a nearly six per cent municipal tax increase this year.
City staff is presenting to council the preliminary budget estimates for 2023, and as it stands, the proposed increase to the tax levy is 5.97 per cent.
CAO Malcolm White said several factors are contributing to the increase, including inflation, higher fuel costs, supply chain disruptions and more frequent severe weather events attributed to climate change.
"We've worked very hard to trim things down to where it is right now, without having any impact on services," said White.
City council will now have a couple of weeks to look over the budget and return to the table with proposed changes, which could include deferring some items or projects to next year – or eliminating them altogether.
Mayor Matthew Shoemaker said council has a tough job ahead.
"The tax increase is high," Shoemaker said.
"We all expected it to be somewhat higher than past years because of the past year's high inflation. But I don't think (the number is) something that the community would accept. And so, it's something we're going to have to sharpen our pencils to bring down."
White, meantime, said while this is a challenging year for municipal finances, the local economy is recovering.
"Algoma Steel is on a great, sustainable path, Tenaris is making significant investments in the community, we have a new owner of the Station Mall, new ownership and operations of our primary tourist attraction, the Agawa Canyon Tour Train," he said.
"So, really as a community, we're well positioned for the future."
The city is asking for feedback from residents and business owners on the proposed budget. Suggestions and comments can be sent through the city's website.
Budget deliberations are scheduled for Feb. 13-14.
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