March 30, 2016
By Jason Ginter
The Charlottetown Council projected a $1.5 million deficit, the first since 1993, when it met to discuss the 2016 Budget.
The city had a deficit of $3 million at the end of 2015 due to snow removal costs. By making cuts to the average budget and taking into account new revenues adding up to $550,000, the council was left with the $1.5 million deficit.
Counc. Melissa Hilton, Chairman of the finance committee, said the council considered other ways of decreasing the deficit.
“Council seriously considered increasing taxes in 2016.”
The deficit will not come with tax increases for the citizens of Charlottetown, however they will pay in the form of increased parking meter rates and increased parking ticket fines.
“We have reviewed fees and fines in other municipalities and I believe that our pricing is still very reasonable,” said Hilton.
The council also cut costs by decreasing the amount of money spent in grants to volunteer projects.
“This means a number of organizations who have traditionally received funding from the City of Charlottetown, will not receive funding in 2016,” said Hilton.
Mayor Clifford Lee said some of the issues with the revenue would be fixed this year.
“We remain confident, after discussions with the provincial government, that the Provincial/Municipal revenue sharing model will be resolved this year.
“The intent is that we will pay this off next year,” he said.
Charlottetown is ranked highly in the latest KPMG study, said Hilton, praising the business community.
“This study says a lot about Charlottetown and our business climate, and I want to congratulate the business community for creating such a climate.”
The adoption of the budget was passed 8-0, and Hilton praised the committee.
“I commend the committee, I commend the entire council,” she said.