There was a public hearing for the 2023 Financial Plan at Steinbach City Council on Tuesday, March 21st, and council passed a resolution to adopt.
The plan notes that currently, the average market value for a home in Steinbach is roughly $217,000, and the average city property tax bill works out to $1,337.81 annually.
If you compare these numbers to 2022, it’s slightly higher this year, as the average market value for a home in 2022 was $202,000 and the average annual property tax bill was $1,281.69.
Similar to other years, property taxes are the city's largest source of revenue and account for around half of all municipal revenue, and commercial properties make up about 25 percent of total property values in the city.
The city will gain a total of 18 million in property taxes in 2023.
The City of Steinbach also collects education and school taxes on behalf of the province and Hanover School Division, similar to previous years, this is expected to make up roughly half of the total tax revenue collected by the city.
Along with municipal taxes and education taxes, federal and provincial grants are bringing in revenue for the city. The provincial per capita tax sharing grant is expected to provide $3 million in 2023, while the federal gas tax grant will provide $890,500.
In total, projected revenues for 2023 are just over $34.6 million.
The overall capital program for 2023 is budgeted at $67.3 million.
The largest budgeted project is the construction on the Event Centre, which will be $43.5 million.
Other large projects include the $14.1 million budgeted for road surface renewal and underground infrastructure renewal, which includes the Loewen/PTH 12 intersection, Barkman Avenue, as well as the Park Road West upgrade.
There is also important equipment being replaced, such as the ladder truck and the landfill compactor which has $3.7 million budgeted.
The City of Steinbach is pleased to say the expenses are equal to the projected revenues, which are just over $34.6 million.
One of the largest city expenses is that of Steinbach’s employees. The total labor cost including benefits for 2023 is budgeted at $10.7 million, or roughly 1/3 of the city's operating budget.
Of this total, the Aquatic Centre makes up about 20 percent of the total labor hours, the largest of any city department.
The city currently has over 140 kilometres of road surface. The maintenance for this infrastructure can depend fairly significantly on the weather in any given year, and for 2023, is expected to cost $2.8 million.
The city’s primary recreation facilities include the aquatic center, arena, A.D. Penner Park, curling rink, and soccer park. As well as various green space and parks around the city.
The expected cost of operating and maintaining these facilities this year is $4.6 million.
Some of the programs that receive funding from the city are the Jake Epp Public Library at $454,000, beautification at $249,000, and various other programs.
The city also provides grants every year for various organizations in Steinbach. In 2023, these grants reach almost $1.3 million.
The main recipients are Jake Epp Public Library, Accessible Transit, Chamber of Commerce, Mennonite Heritage Village, Steinbach Arts Council, and Summer in the City.
Various larger projects also require significant funding. Some of the funding will come from reserve funds that have been saved in previous years, while other projects will require debt funding.
The city will periodically issue debt in order to add or renew various infrastructure/facilities throughout the city.
In 2023, five projects have a debt component. These projects are the Event Center construction, the Lift Station #2 upgrade, the Loewen/PTH 12 intersection, the fire department's Ladder Truck, and the Barkman Avenue renewal.
This is expected to create just over $12 million in new debt, while $2.1 million of previously issued debt will be paid off.
The city will continue to use a five-year amortization term for all of its debt, allowing them to borrow at lower interest rates than if the longer term was used.
Councillor Michael Zwaagstra comments that the city is getting a lot for the money they are spending.
"In terms of recreation, we know that the Event Centre is the biggest capital project the city has ever done in our history. It's not even close.”
The second largest project the city has ever done was the secondary water treatment plant, and that was only $11 million.
He says the reason they are able to afford the Event Centre is thanks to the fact that this council and past councils in previous years have been fiscally responsible, have made sure to spend wisely, and keep debt low.
"In particular our five year debt policy, we're continuing with that policy, even now. That policy has been in place for 25-30 years and it has paid off in the in a big way over the years,” he says. “Because it means that we are not hamstringing future councils with projects, rather, we're ensuring that everything is paid off within five years. And so that way we're always able to do new things and that's what we're doing.”
He continues: “I believe this is a fiscally responsible budget that at the same time is also aggressive and ensuring that we are meeting the needs of Steinbach today and also in the future.”
Mayor Earl Funk feels this is a very good budget, and that it reflects the priorities of the city.
“Two of our priorities are infrastructure renewal and expansion, and recreation and cultural facility renewals, and this budget is loaded with that,” he says. “And it really shows that these are our commitments. We're committing ourselves to today's Steinbach and tomorrow’s Steinbach as well.”
Looking ahead to the next few years, 2024 program is currently budgeted at $36.1 million, which includes infrastructure renewal, the continuation of the Event Centre, and the twinning of a force main.
For 2025-2027, it’s estimated that programs will be 22.7 million 26.5 million and 19.5 million respectively.