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2014-01-17 at 5:12PM

Chamber to city: Get serious about spending control

By tbnewswatch.com

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is issuing a challenge to to city hall to get serious about controlling spending.

The chamber held a news conference Friday to release a report prepared by the business department at Lakehead University that claims Thunder Bay ranks last among eight similar cities when it comes to getting bang for the taxpayers' buck

According to the200-page report, the operating costs for Thunder Bay city hall are higher than the average in 20 of 27 categories compared to other Ontario and Northern cities.

It also says property taxes are among the highest in Ontario.

City manager Tim Commisso says the city can always improve but comparisons don't take into account Thunder Bay's isolation, its low density and spread out tax base, which makes it hard to compare to other parts of Ontario.

And he points out the study doesn't include the $2.1 million dollars in new assessment this year, due to the huge spike in building permits in the past two years.

LU business professor Camillo Lento says if nothing changes, homeowners could see tax increases of around 7.9 per cent over the next four years.

Commisso takes issue with that, as does city councillor Joe Virdiramo.

They say the recent tax hikes have been largely due to a commitment to improve local infrastructure, and the base tax rate has actually gone up just a couple percent.

The city begins its budget deliberations next month.


(Thunder Bay Television)

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