Budget 2019 - 2021

Text - Preparing for Budget 2019-2021. Our City Our Future with logo

What we Heard Document(s) Released - Infographic and Detailed Document

The City is planning for its next three-year budget in a time of significant change in the economy and shifting demographics. As well, several factors are increasing our operating costs from increases in electricity, fire protection, and debt servicing charges, to name a few.

The City has been working aggressively to find ways to operate more efficiently (from program review in 2016 to our current continuous improvement efforts) and Council is committed to keeping our human resources costs under control, to aggressively address the problem of rising power rates and to focus on stability through partnerships with community and government organizations.

However, with the slowing of the economy and the expected reduction in assessed values for 2019, to balance the budget (a requirement by law), with no decrease in services, the City is projecting residential and commercial mill rate increases.

Review the materials on this page including videos which help outline what we are doing and some of the challenges we are facing. Check out our property tax calculator to see what this could mean for your household’s municipal tax bill. Check out the detailed breakdown of 2019 budget costs and the overview of capital spending in the documents library.

What we Heard Document(s) Released - Infographic and Detailed Document

The City is planning for its next three-year budget in a time of significant change in the economy and shifting demographics. As well, several factors are increasing our operating costs from increases in electricity, fire protection, and debt servicing charges, to name a few.

The City has been working aggressively to find ways to operate more efficiently (from program review in 2016 to our current continuous improvement efforts) and Council is committed to keeping our human resources costs under control, to aggressively address the problem of rising power rates and to focus on stability through partnerships with community and government organizations.

However, with the slowing of the economy and the expected reduction in assessed values for 2019, to balance the budget (a requirement by law), with no decrease in services, the City is projecting residential and commercial mill rate increases.

Review the materials on this page including videos which help outline what we are doing and some of the challenges we are facing. Check out our property tax calculator to see what this could mean for your household’s municipal tax bill. Check out the detailed breakdown of 2019 budget costs and the overview of capital spending in the documents library.

  • Residential and Commercial Assessments now Available

    15 days ago

    Beginning November 26, 2018, owners of both residential and commercial properties can access their 2019 assessed values online. Assessments are also being mailed to property owners and should begin arriving this week.

    As predicted, residential property values are down slightly overall, with the total residential roll dropping by 4.17 percent. Commercial properties, on the other hand, are up slightly by 1.72 per cent.

    Total municipal property values have decreased overall from $15.9 billion to $15.5 billion for 2019.

    Assessed values are an important factor in determining individual property tax bills. On December 10, 2018, Council will announce the mill rates for 2019. To determine property tax, the mill rate is applied to the assessed value.

    “In September, we anticipated a mill rate increase of between .4 and .6, and we have been working over the past months to identify as many opportunities for savings as possible,” said Councillor Lane. “Based on early predictions and a review of property values, the majority of home owners could have a tax increase of less than $10 a month. The individual impact on commercial property owners is much more varied given the wider nature of properties involved.”


    Beginning November 26, 2018, owners of both residential and commercial properties can access their 2019 assessed values online. Assessments are also being mailed to property owners and should begin arriving this week.

    As predicted, residential property values are down slightly overall, with the total residential roll dropping by 4.17 percent. Commercial properties, on the other hand, are up slightly by 1.72 per cent.

    Total municipal property values have decreased overall from $15.9 billion to $15.5 billion for 2019.

    Assessed values are an important factor in determining individual property tax bills. On December 10, 2018, Council will announce the mill rates for 2019. To determine property tax, the mill rate is applied to the assessed value.

    “In September, we anticipated a mill rate increase of between .4 and .6, and we have been working over the past months to identify as many opportunities for savings as possible,” said Councillor Lane. “Based on early predictions and a review of property values, the majority of home owners could have a tax increase of less than $10 a month. The individual impact on commercial property owners is much more varied given the wider nature of properties involved.”


  • What We Heard About Managing Waste

    15 days ago

    During public engagement sessions, some residents questioned how the City could achieve savings in our waste and recycling program. Suggestions included reducing the amount of times we collect garbage and recycling; encouraging residents to divert more waste from the landfill through better recycling programs; and charging a fee to use the Residential Drop Off at Robin Hood Bay.

    Here are some answers to common questions about waste management


    During public engagement sessions, some residents questioned how the City could achieve savings in our waste and recycling program. Suggestions included reducing the amount of times we collect garbage and recycling; encouraging residents to divert more waste from the landfill through better recycling programs; and charging a fee to use the Residential Drop Off at Robin Hood Bay.

    Here are some answers to common questions about waste management


  • What We Heard Released

    28 days ago

    Nov. 12, 2018 - Today, the City of St. John’s released the findings of its public engagement process for Budget 2019-2021. Over 1,000 pieces of feedback were reviewed and compiled into 15 key themes.

    “On behalf of Council I would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide their input on this important topic,” said Councillor Dave Lane, Council lead on Finance and Administration. “From attending public meetings to commenting online, we have received a tremendous response to budget planning for the next three years and we feel confident that we have a good understanding of public perspectives.”

    Read the summary documents and provide your feedback on what was heard here.


    Nov. 12, 2018 - Today, the City of St. John’s released the findings of its public engagement process for Budget 2019-2021. Over 1,000 pieces of feedback were reviewed and compiled into 15 key themes.

    “On behalf of Council I would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide their input on this important topic,” said Councillor Dave Lane, Council lead on Finance and Administration. “From attending public meetings to commenting online, we have received a tremendous response to budget planning for the next three years and we feel confident that we have a good understanding of public perspectives.”

    Read the summary documents and provide your feedback on what was heard here.


  • Executive Report on Revenue and Expenditure, 2017

    about 2 months ago

    The City of St. John’s 2017 Executive Summary Report on Revenue and Expenditure was presented at the regular meeting of St. John’s City Council on October 15, 2018 by Councillor Dave Lane, lead councillor for Finance and Administration. The Executive Summary report, while still based on audited information, is reported using the cash basis method of accounting and allows for direct comparison of budget vs actual results which serves to ensure the City is open and transparent in its financial planning and reporting.

    “The report for 2017 shows a surplus of $3,075,597,” explained Councillor Lane. “This surplus equates to...

    The City of St. John’s 2017 Executive Summary Report on Revenue and Expenditure was presented at the regular meeting of St. John’s City Council on October 15, 2018 by Councillor Dave Lane, lead councillor for Finance and Administration. The Executive Summary report, while still based on audited information, is reported using the cash basis method of accounting and allows for direct comparison of budget vs actual results which serves to ensure the City is open and transparent in its financial planning and reporting.

    “The report for 2017 shows a surplus of $3,075,597,” explained Councillor Lane. “This surplus equates to 1.04 per cent of the City’s total gross adjusted budget of $296,605,853.”

    Overall, revenues exceeded the budget by 12.26M, or 4.13 per cent of the gross adjusted revenue budget of $296,605,853, while actual expenditures exceeded budget by $9.18M, or 3.1 per cent of the gross adjusted expenditure, resulting in a surplus. The gross adjusted budget reflects changes that happen throughout the year – the biggest of which is transfers from the City’s reserves. Excluding these items, the overall revenue variance is $2.44M, favourable, or 0.82 per cent of gross revenue. The comparable expenditure variance adjusts from unfavorable of $9.18M, to a favorable $634K, or 0.21 per cent.

    Breakdown of variances in revenue and expenditures is in the attached Executive Summary Report.

    “Given that the City is projecting a deficit in 2019, a surplus from 2017 will certainly be a benefit,” explained Councillor Lane. “Applying this surplus - plus funds held in reserve from previous years -towards reducing our pension debt provides both immediate and long-term benefits to the tax payer.”

    The City will pay down $6M of its pension debt which will result in the elimination of payments from future operating budgets as follows:

    2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
    $1,590,000 $1,590,000 $1,590,000 $1,590,000 $397,500


    This is a total reduction of $6,757,500. Given the initial contribution by the City is $6M, this results in interest savings to taxpayers of $757,500.

    This approach reduces the City’s net debt, reduces interest costs, and provides some mil rate relief by permanently reducing the projected operating budget deficits. The City still holds an additional $6M in reserve as protection against unforeseen events, contingencies and emergencies. The option of investing some of the surplus in energy saving programs/technologies may also be explored.


  • Understanding the Budget

    3 months ago