Last night, on April 29, 2021, the City of Thompson’s Mayor and Council presented the City of Thompson’s 2021 Financial Plan to the general public. The presentation is available http://www.thompson.ca, and a recording of the presentation and public comments are available on Youtube here.
The City of Thompson’s total budget is $40, 960, 592 in 2021. The combined mill rate of School District and City taxes has increased by 2% in 2021, from 45.706 in 2020 to 46.620.
This means that for a property assessed at $174, 680, owners will pay $3, 656 in City and School District taxes before the provincial education tax credit is applied, compared with $3, 584 in 2020: a difference of $72 across the whole year, roughly equivalent to a tank of gas at current prices.
The operational budget for 2021 is status quo, meaning that council has only approved those increases that are contractual obligations, including union wages and the local RCMP contract among others. Operational expenses are the day-to-day expenses of running a city: wages, consumables like gas and small spare parts, etc.
However, 2021 continues to be far from an average year in the City of Thompson. Though the last two years have created many hardships, it has also presented opportunities.
Capital Projects, ICIP and Improving Infrastructure
Capital expenditures are the big stuff: the fundamental building blocks that the City and it’s residents. This includes things like roads, water mains, and buildings.
Previously, capital projects like the City’s Road Renewal Program came were exclusively funded through reserves and provincial grants and transfers. For the first time in nearly a decade, the City of Thompson is allocating property tax dollars to capital projects, in order to qualify for infrastructure funding through the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Fund (ICIP).
If the City receives ICIP funding, each dollar of City contribution for road work will be met with $5 of provincial and federal funding, meaning in the first year, the City will be able to accomplish $5.7 million in road work while contributing only $955, 142.86.
Each dollar contributed towards water and sewer work will be met with $3 of provincial and federal funding. In the first year, the City would be able to accomplish $6.8 million in water and sewer work while contributing $1.8 million.
The total value of these multi-year projects combined adds up to $88 million, with the city responsible for 22% of the cost.
This funding is not a regular opportunity, and cannot be deferred with the expectation of receiving it in another year. Therefore, Council determined that taking advantage of this opportunity was critical.
Should the City not receive the ICIP grant, the money raised will not be spent, and Council will determine the next steps around what to do with the funds that were collected.
“We hear every year that road work is an extremely high priority for our residents. Road and water renewal is not a luxury, and has already been part of our capital renewal plan for years. This is an opportunity to speed up that process considerably while freeing up more resources for other community services.”Colleen Smook, Mayor of Thompson
COVID-19 Stimulus Funding
COVID-19 has created a unique situation, as many typical sources of revenue were required to close. Between 2018 and 2020, the City of Thompson has reduced its expenses by $1.9 million, and efforts continue into 2021. These reductions helped ensure that potential shortfalls in the 2020 and 2021 budgets were largely balanced out.
Nonetheless, like other municipalities, the City of Thompson received additional COVID-19 stimulus funding from provincial and federal sources. As the City of Thompson did not have significant shortfalls to recover, it was able to divert these funds on the following initiatives:
|Funded Items||Funding Amount|
|ICIP Funding Matching Dollars (Pending Projects)||$433,900|
|Increase Street Sweeping Program||60,000|
|Outdoor rink upgrades||50,000|
|Beautifying Thompson (Flags, Christmas, etc.)||40,000|
|City Efficiency Audit||40,000|
|Crime Prevention through Environmental Design||20,000|
|Trails- Biking, Running||15,000|
“Since the beginning of our elected term, City Council and administration have been working hard to ensure Thompsonites get more for their tax dollars. Those efforts are starting to come together, and while they mean a small increase now, they’re incredibly important for the long-term health and sustainability of our community. We can’t let COVID-19 derail our future.”Colleen Smook, Mayor of Thompson