Charlottetown's annual financial plan will be delivered Wednesday

Dave Stewart
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Charlottetown City Hall

The City of Charlottetown will bring down its 2016 municipal budget on Wednesday at noon.

The address will be available through live streaming on the city's website at https://secure.charlottetown.ca/. Anyone tuning in is advised to wait until the meeting begins at 12 p.m. before clicking on the live streaming link.

Residents and business people dodged a tax increase in last year's budget by the slimmest of margins.

Council unanimously passed a $59.1 million financial plan with no tax increase.

Mayor Clifford Lee said they were all but ready to bring in a five per cent hike until Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced the day before it was giving the city $1.5 million to help with snow removal. A five per cent increase would have hauled in $1.45 million, costing homeowners an extra $58 on their bill while businesses were looking at an additional $815.

The mayor has been pressing the provincial government for the past few years to change the revenue-sharing model. While the city provides the services, the province collects property taxes and doesn't return as much to the municipality as it used to.

Charlottetown has lost more than $15 million since the formula was changed in 2008.

Lee issued a stern warning when he spoke to the media after last year's budget address that there would be a tax increase in 2016 if the revenue-sharing model wasn't yet resolved.

MacLauchlan is already on record as saying the province will revisit the issue. It's unlikely that promise will help much for this budget, although it could be enough for the city to hold off for this year.

Charlottetown does have some big projects on the books but the big three — the new wellfield in Miltonvale, separating storm water from sanitary water and the first phase of the roundabout at the Belvedere Esso — all rely on equal money from the provincial and federal governments.

There has been some talk lately that developers might end up paying more for permits this year.

Grants to organizers fell $20,000 last year. The city also cut its funding to "Anne & Gilbert - The Musical".

One of the bigger expenditures was $5 million for traffic and pedestrian signal upgrades.

The address and budget documents will be available on the city's website at www.charlottetown.ca following the public meeting.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Miltonvale

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