London city council OKs $1B 2021 budget with 3.4% tax hike

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London city council rubber-stamped its 2021 budget on Tuesday night. It outlines$1.04 billion in city hall spending this year and saddles property taxpayers with a 3.4 per cent tax hike, one of the highest in a decade.


The 3.4 per cent increase will add an extra $101 to the property tax bill of an average home assessed at $241,000 in 2019. This year’s increase was originally set at 4.5 per cent. The reduction is thanks to a growing tax base that added more than $8 million to city coffers and deferred spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The deferrals include the municipal share of new child-care spaces that weren’t created given the health crisis and London’s plans to divert more waste away from the landfill. A green bin program, for example, was expected to roll out this year but is pushed off to 2022.


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There were some cuts — such as $500,000 for repairs and upgrades for public works, like roads, bridges and other city assets — but there was also new investment approved by city council.

In a bid to help London harness economic benefits of the film industry, politicians voted nearly unanimously to spend $300,000 annually on a film office and a film commissioner. That’s even more than the $200,000 proposed by city staff. The funds to boost London’s profile in the film world will come from a reserve fund, however, rather than adding to this year’s tax hike.


London uses a multi-year budget, planning its priorities and the cash to make it happen over a four-year interval. Last year, council adopted a budget that spans 2020 to 2023, but still does an annual update to address any changes or pressures that have cropped up during the year. The COVID-19 crisis took an immediate toll on London’s multi-year budget that was approved just before the pandemic hit.

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