The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce said the City of Thunder Bay needs to rein in spending to keep property taxes from skyrocketing.
The chamber released a report prepared by Lakehead University’s Small Business Consulting Services on Jan. 17. The report predicts that property taxes will reach alarming levels if municipal spending continues to increase at the current rate.
It forecasts annual taxes for multi-residential properties to increase 8.70 per cent each year over the next four years, industrial taxes to jump 8.53 per cent, and residential taxes to increase 7.93 per cent.
The report’s authors draw on information available in the city’s financial statements and the BMA Management Consulting Municipal Study 2012 to analyze the state of the city’s finances and forecast property taxes for the next four years.
Among the report’s highlights are that Thunder Bay’s property taxes are among the highest in Ontario, that total operating expenses have increased from $346 million in 2002 to $505 million in 2012, and that general government category expenses have almost doubled from $14.3 million in 2002 to $27.3 million in 2012.
“The business community is supportive of city council’s strategic vision for a Thunder Bay that is connected, healthy, vibrant and strong – achieving that vision is dependent in many ways on the competitiveness of the municipality,” said chamber president Charla Robinson in a statement. “This report provides proof that Thunder Bay lags in efficiency when compared to other Ontario cities. As such, we believe that City Council needs to reduce municipal operating costs to improve attractiveness and affordability.”
To read the report, go online at www.tbchamber.ca/news.