Regional council to get first look at 2025 budget numbers Tuesday

Regional councillors are set to get their first look at 2025 budget numbers during a committtee meeting Tuesday. (Kate Bueckert/CBC - image credit)

Regional councillors are set to get their first look at 2025 budget numbers during a committee meeting Tuesday, with a staff report suggesting that currently the potential tax rate increase could be as much as 13 per cent.

That number excludes the police budget.

"Each plan and budget process builds upon the decisions made in previous years. As new services or service expansions are implemented, they increase the bottom line for years to come," says the staff report set to be discussed during the administration and finance committee meeting at 1:30 p.m.

"This, in addition to the increase cost of doing business and shifting expectations on the role of municipalities by other levels of government, make for a challenging fiscal context."

In anticipation of Tuesday's meeting, the region issued a press release saying the budget increase is due to the region growing rapidly and "outpacing outdated municipal revenue tools."

Regional Coun. Michael Harris, who chairs the administration and finance committee, said in the release that the region "grew by a community the size of Stratford last year alone."

"We've made significant commitments to the community to expand the services they rely on — in housing, paramedic services, transit — and those come at a cost," he said.

Regional Chair Karen Redman, who said at last week's state of the region address that this municipality is expected to grow to one million people by 2050, said the region cannot plan for that growth on its own.

"It is critical that we work together to make smart investments today that will support the next generation and future generations to come," Redman said in the release.

"We can't do that without strong support from our partners in the provincial and federal government. Property taxpayers cannot shoulder the full cost of this growth."