Budget 2022 and beyond

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Consultation has concluded

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

The City is planning for its 2022 budget and has moved to a new budget cycle to better reflect changes to the assessment cycle (now required every two years by provincial legislation). The City will focus on 2022 for its budget engagement but forecasting will also be completed for 2023-2025.

While the City's strategic directions outlined in Our City, Our Future, were affirmed in the 2020 Citizen Satisfaction survey (a statistically valid survey completed every two years), 2021 is also a review year for the City's strategic plan goals as a new Council is elected this year.

The economy of the City and the entire province continues to shift as the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic continues. There has been a slight decrease in assessed values of property (around 4.5 % for residential and 2.6 % for commercial) and while the City's annual budget increases have hovered around 1.2 %, some of the City's operating costs for 2022 are expected to increase in areas such as fleet and debt servicing (payment on borrowing for capital projects).

The City has made progress against its current strategic plan and has other plans and strategies in various stages such as climate/sustainability, healthy cities, economic development, envision, and affordable housing, all of which have been built with feedback from the public, aligned with strategic directions, and focus on quality of life and the City's vision for the future.

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 and focusing on stability through partnerships with community and government organizations.

However, with the changes to the economy and the reduction in assessed values for 2022, and to balance the budget (a requirement by law) without a decrease in services, at this time the City is projecting residential and commercial mil rate increases to offset those costs.

Review the materials on this page including the video and fact sheets. Check out the property tax calculator to see what changes in a mil rate could mean for your household’s municipal tax bill for 2022. Use the Tax Receipt tool to see how your tax dollars are currently being spent to deliver the programs and services residents value.

Engage in discussion below, sign up for a community meeting later in the fall (check back for key dates), ask a question, do a quick poll. Alternatively, you can send your feedback directly to engage@stjohns.ca or call 311 to speak to a member of the project team.

The City is planning for its 2022 budget and has moved to a new budget cycle to better reflect changes to the assessment cycle (now required every two years by provincial legislation). The City will focus on 2022 for its budget engagement but forecasting will also be completed for 2023-2025.

While the City's strategic directions outlined in Our City, Our Future, were affirmed in the 2020 Citizen Satisfaction survey (a statistically valid survey completed every two years), 2021 is also a review year for the City's strategic plan goals as a new Council is elected this year.

The economy of the City and the entire province continues to shift as the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic continues. There has been a slight decrease in assessed values of property (around 4.5 % for residential and 2.6 % for commercial) and while the City's annual budget increases have hovered around 1.2 %, some of the City's operating costs for 2022 are expected to increase in areas such as fleet and debt servicing (payment on borrowing for capital projects).

The City has made progress against its current strategic plan and has other plans and strategies in various stages such as climate/sustainability, healthy cities, economic development, envision, and affordable housing, all of which have been built with feedback from the public, aligned with strategic directions, and focus on quality of life and the City's vision for the future.

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 and focusing on stability through partnerships with community and government organizations.

However, with the changes to the economy and the reduction in assessed values for 2022, and to balance the budget (a requirement by law) without a decrease in services, at this time the City is projecting residential and commercial mil rate increases to offset those costs.

Review the materials on this page including the video and fact sheets. Check out the property tax calculator to see what changes in a mil rate could mean for your household’s municipal tax bill for 2022. Use the Tax Receipt tool to see how your tax dollars are currently being spent to deliver the programs and services residents value.

Engage in discussion below, sign up for a community meeting later in the fall (check back for key dates), ask a question, do a quick poll. Alternatively, you can send your feedback directly to engage@stjohns.ca or call 311 to speak to a member of the project team.

Consultation has concluded
  • Budget 2022 Aims to Achieve Balance

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    Today, the City of St. John’s approved Budget 2022 which includes targeted investments in key areas and measures to address a projected $13M deficit without any reductions in service.

    For 2022, Council has approved a .6 mill increase for residential properties and a .8 mill increase for commercial properties. Despite the change in the mill rate, a large percentage of property owners will see no increase in their taxes or a small increase over taxes in 2021.

    Water taxes will increase $5 per unit, from $620 in 2021 to $625 for 2022. This increase is required to fund current water operations, and all revenue from this tax goes directly to providing water service.

    Investing in a Strong Municipality

    Through the budget engagement process, the public noted that Council should be focused on achieving its strategic priorities and considering the future; building a welcoming and inclusive city for all.

    To that end, Council will continue to focus on being a Sustainable City, an Effective City, a City that Moves and a Connected City, and to work aggressively to find ways to operate more efficiently through continuous improvement initiatives. Council is committed to keeping human resources costs under control and to focusing on stability through partnerships with community and government organizations.

    In response to public concerns about sidewalk snow clearing, Council has funded a third shift in sidewalk snow clearing. This $510,000 investment will allow for faster completion of the existing sidewalk routes.

    Council has also approved an investment to improve the frequency of high demand Metrobus routes. The new ZIP Network service, beginning January 3, 2022, will see increased and consistent frequency throughout the day on key routes.

    The Pedestrian Mall has been funded for 2022 as well with an increased focus on Come Home Year 2022.

    To access the budget book and read more details about the 2022 budget, check out the city's website.


  • FINAL What We Heard Document Available

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    Following the release of the Nov. 17 What We Heard (to date) document, the City held a public session on Nov. 25 and received additional feedback via email and this site. The What We Heard document has been updated to reflect any new information gathered through that process and can be found in the Document library.

  • Understanding mill rates and taxation

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    Did you know that the vast majority of the City’s revenue comes from property tax?

    The City of St. John’s has a few different revenue streams, but most of our revenue comes from water and property tax - 64% in fact. The remaining 36% of our budget comes from user fees for programs and services (like the cost of swimming lessons or renting a facility), permits, fines, and government grants and subsidies.

    How is your tax bill calculated?

    Although taxation affects us all differently, all property tax is calculated using the same method. To determine your tax bill, we multiply the assessed value of your property by the mill rate and add the water tax. Read the full article here.

  • What we heard (to date) released

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    Today the City released a summary of what has been heard to date regarding Budget 2022. Check out all the details in the Document library.

    Engagement to date has included:

    • 1100 visits to EngageStjohns.ca

    • Establishing an Ad hoc budget advisory committee

    • Meeting with the City-Business Roundtable

    • Booth at Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) Event Oct. 27, 2021

    • Focus groups with City Advisory Committees and Local Immigration Partnership members

    In general, the feedback gathered so far has focused on the impact of demographic changes to program and service access and delivery; the state of small businesses; cost of living and affordability concerns; creating more equity in who pays taxes and comments about tax rates; and gaps in service that should be the focus for Council in budget planning such as sidewalk snow clearing, public transit, affordable housing, and improved accessibility.

    Council is currently meeting with staff, reviewing the feedback gathered through public engagement so far, and planning for budget 2022.

    To learn more about plans and to continue to contribute to the process, please register for the upcoming virtual event:

    Virtual Public Engagement Session on Budget 2022 Registration

    Thursday, November 25, 2021 at 7pm



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  • City adds new Tax Receipt tool to budget engagement process

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    Have you ever considered how much of your tax bill pays for the various programs and services the city offers? For example, if your tax bill is $3,000 annually, what portion of that helps fund recreation programs, public transit, garbage and recycling, or general city operations? A new tool, called the Tax Receipt allows you to input the assessed value of your property and see that breakdown line for line, just like any other receipt. Please note, the Tax Receipt does not capture costs for the provision of water and waste water services which is funded through a separate water tax. In 2021 water tax was $620. Check out the tax Receipt and leave your feedback here.

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