City unveils 2016 operating budget

Your typical Whitehorse homeowner will pay another $39 in property taxes this year, provided that the city passes its 2016 operating budget.

Your typical Whitehorse homeowner will pay another $39 in property taxes this year, provided that the city passes its 2016 operating budget.

An average household would pay $2,304 in taxes under the proposed budget, which received first reading at Monday’s council meeting.

The average Whitehorse business, meanwhile, would pay an extra $250 in taxes this year, for a total of $14,830.

For both households and businesses, it’s a 1.7 per cent increase, the same as in 2015.

The City is anticipating a 1.7 per cent increase in 2017 and a 2.3 per cent increase in 2018.

The city’s 2016 operating budget has grown to $70.6 million. That’s up $1.6 million from one year ago.

Water and sewer fees would increase by four per cent. That means monthly rates would rise from $73.02 to $75.94. Last year, those rates rose by 6.3 per cent.

The city has undergone “belt-tightening” efforts to keep operating costs as low as possible, Mayor Dan Curtis said during his budget speech.

About half of the operating budget is funded through taxes, which help pay for everything from snow clearing to recreation facilities to transit.

“Taxes in Whitehorse remain lower than many other comparable municipalities and our modest tax increase will keep it that way,” Curtis said.

Landfill tipping fees will increase from $94 to $97 per tonne next year.

Residential curbside waste and organic collection costs would increase by 6.8 per cent in 2016, raising rates by $0.70 per month. There was no increase for these services in 2015.

The City also plans to introduce curbside recycling collection sometime this year.

It’s estimated that households would pay $15 a month for this weekly service.

The capital budget includes the City’s biggest infrastructure project ever, a $56-million plan over the next two years to build itself two new headquarters for its staff.

The City contends that once the buildings are constructed, it will save approximately $500,000 per year in energy and heating costs, which will alleviate pressure on the operating budget.

The city is now asking for residents to give their input on the proposed operating budget.

A public input night is scheduled at city hall on March 14 and a report on that input will be presented to council the following week.

Second and third reading of the operating budget will be held on March 29.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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