Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Council runs up budget tab

Thunder Bay City Council ran up a 242 thousand dollar tab at Wednesday night's budget meeting.  Councillors reviewed the capital and operating budgets and added items to it.  An extra 160-thousand dollars for Roads in the Shuniah area was tagged on.  65-thousand goes to the Children Aid Society and 17 thousand for the Minnesota and Kushnier rinks.  The tax rate as it stands now is at 1.27 percent.

Fee increases in 2011 budget

It's going to cost slightly more money to take part in activities at the Canada Games Complex.  Administration is recommending a variety of increases in the 2011 budget.  Adult midday yearly memberships will cost 19 dollars more than in 2010.  Meanwhile, the increases will also impact taking your trash to the dump.  Vehicles weighing in will now pay a 20 dollar land fill fee. Finally, Golf membership fees are slated to go up by 3 percent meaning adults will pay almost 593 dollars a year.  Green fees will cost an extra dollar at Chapples and 2 dollars at Strathcona.

Taxes less than first thought

Thunder Bay taxpayers will be getting a bit of a break in their property taxes. Last week's budget figures were tweaked to include the education tax and administration is now recommending a 1.13 percent increase. Homeowners will pay an extra 28 dollars on their total tax bill. With council adding another 242 thousand dollars to the budget on Wednesday night the tax rate stands at 1.27 percent.

Council fosters would be NHL'ers

Councillor Rebecca Johnson is legislatively being checked against the boards. Council decided Wednesday night to add boards and lights to two neighbourhood outdoor rinks.  Johnson says it's money that doesn't need to be spent.  The 14 thousand dollars for Minnesota Park and John Kusznier Memorial Park will be included in the 2011 budget.   Mayor Keith Hobbs calls it money well spent that will improve the quality of life for Thunder Bay's youth. 


Trail lights would cost 500K

The costing report is in.  It would cost the City of Thunder Bay 500-thousand dollars to install lights and cameras to the "Black Path."  It's an extra 5-thousand dollars a year to light it.  Administration would also like to take some time to see how much it would be to install solar or LED lights.  The report comes from a petition asking for the path to be lit as a way to make it safer.

Hobbs compares waterfront to The Money Pit

Mayor Keith Hobbs says he is not pleased that the waterfront project is 8.6 million dollars overbudget. He says that it reminds him of the movie The Money Pit.  He says he's not about to start second guessing the old city council and just wants to see the project move forward.  As a result, Hobbs says he's asked City Manager Tim Commisso to micro-manage the project. The mayor says he's not about to start firing people.

Woman hurt in Westfort stabbing

City police are investigating a stabbing on the city's south side. They say that a 58 year old woman was stabbed in the leg with a knife. The incident took place at an apartment in Westfort at around noon Wednesday. A 61 year old man is in custody.

Local broker gives thumbs up to merger

An investment expert in Thunder Bay says the announced merger of the Toronto and London stock exchanges is far from a done deal. ScotiaMcLeod's Blake Cameron says an official review is still possible by the federal industry department.  However Cameron says if it does go through, businesses in the region will benefit in the long run

Government provides funding for business

Thunder Bay has three more local businesses thanks to funding from the Provincial Government.  They include a small scale farm, a marketing company and a cleaning service.  Six full time jobs and part time jobs were created.

Commisso takes the blame

Tim Commisso says he takes full responsibility. The waterfront project has come in 8.6 million dollars over budget so far. The city manager says the 17 per cent increase is the result of a complex project and says the buck stops with him.  The city's share of the the overrun is about 4 million dollars. It will be taken from Phase 2 of the project. The rest will come from stimulus cash.  As well Commisso says he will become more involved in the project from now on.   Katherine Dugmore will retain her full responsibility as project manager.

Waterfront project 17% over budget

The city's waterfront development is 8.6 million dollars over budget. That's a 17 per cent increase from what was originally approved by city council. The city's share of the the overrun is about 4 million dollars. The rest will be covered through Infrastructure Stimulus money and from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund

Budget talks continue

City councillors get back to some serious budget issues tonight. Included in tonight's agenda are financial decisions regarding fees at the city run golf courses, the games complex, animal services and child care.

Home safe and sound

A missing 17 year old girl is safe and sound. Leah Ooshag had been missing since last Wednesday but returned to her home just after 9:30 this morning.   Police say she was staying at a friends house for the last week.