City 4-year budget consultations underway

City Council is considering its next FOUR years of budget. A good summary can be found at pages 4 to 9 of the budget at: http://www.london.ca/city-hall/budget-business/budget/Pages/Get-Involved-with-the-Multi-Year-Budget-Process.aspx

You will see operating budget will be $1 B by 2021 with 65% of that supported by property taxes. Note on page 8 that the largest expenditure is for police services (about 18% of the municipal share of your tax bill).

You will also note a number of “business cases” for additional spending (summarized on page 41 of the document). These include things like Back to the River (recommended by staff to Council) to additional money for creating and maintaining affordable housing to determining if a new City Hall is required (called the Master Accommodation Plan). There are also some budget reductions being considered such as ending the curbside collection of Christmas trees. The city is looking for your feedback on all of these matters, some of which are already included in the draft budget. You can provide feedback at: https://getinvolved.london.ca/budget/budget-survey

Council approved the 2020 Water and Wastewater & Treatment rates on November 26, 2019. The 2.5% increase for each service, effective January 1, 2020, translates into a combined increase of approximately $27 for the average residential ratepayer consuming 200 m3 of water per year. The Water and Wastewater & Treatment budgets will be discussed at open houses and public meetings in January 2020, a Public Participation meeting on January 23, 2020, and then deliberated by Council on multiple dates in later January and throughout February. Final Council approval is scheduled for March 2, 2020.

For those of you interested in taking a deeper dive into the operating and capital budgets, here are some areas which may be of interest. The full document is over 200 pages plus another 200 pages for the “business cases.”

If you are interested in the policies behind budgeting at the City, look at pages 22-23 of the document which provides a good summary.

Pages 31-32 summarize how changes in assessed value of your property affects the actual change in the property taxes you pay. The percent change in your property taxes may be more or less than the percentage change to the city budget.

Changes in funding from the Province will cost the city about $7.5 M (1.2% increase in the tax bill) in 2020 rising to nearly $10 M in 2023 (page 42).

A summary of the City’s capital budget is found on page 43. I found it interesting that $280 M is budgeted for capital in 2020 and only $150 M of that is tax supported. Almost 10% is paid for by Federal Gas Tax money.

A new library for Northwest London is planned for 2020 (page 63) along with a recreation centre in 2023. We don’t know if the location has been determined and if they will be co-located. It is unclear what, if any, impact there will be on the Sherwood Branch.

There are two big road projects (page 134) this year – Adelaide Street tunnel at the CPR tracks, and the widening of Wharncliffe Road between Becher and Springbank Drive. The rest of the new road projects are listed starting on page 186 to 190.

Update on Road Closure

An update on the temporary road closure at Wychwood and Scarlett –

Should only be a few more days. The base coat of asphalt is down and the
temporary curbs are installed. The contractor didn’t want traffic on
the fresh pavement for a few days. There is only about a day and half of
onsite cleanup. Today is likely a washout because of the rain but they should
be done towards the end of the week.

Coyote Reminder, Winter Driving, and Giving Tuesday for the Medway ESA

Giving Tuesday

Today is GIVING TUESDAY. Consider joining a number of residents who have already made a contribution to the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority for projects in the Medway Valley Heritage Forest Environmentally Significant Area (ESA). This opportunity comes with the City committing to improve access to the Valley by building a new boardwalk and swale (to reduce the effects of runoff) from the entrance to the ESA at Longbow and Wychwood this spring. And a reminder… a resident has pledged to match all donations made in 2019 up to $10,000. Money raised will be used for projects such as invasive species management.

Continue reading “Coyote Reminder, Winter Driving, and Giving Tuesday for the Medway ESA”

Update on park construction

The City of London has had to defer construction of Sherwood Forest Park (and others across the city) from fall 2019 to spring 2020. The project has been delayed to ensure a high quality finished product, to provide a little more time to better coordinate with the adjacent developer and to ensure that the park remains useable over the winter months (this means the dirt piles will be leveled). The City has apologized for the delay, but hopes the neighbourhood understands and appreciates the key reasons for the delay. The City has indicated that this park project will be their highest priority to complete in the spring, 2020, once conditions are suitable.

If you have any questions, please contact City staff directly, either Stephanie Wilson at 519-661-2489 x 1871, stwilson@london.ca or Jeff Bruin at extension 5067, jbruin@london.ca

Update on Sherwood Forest Park

We received notice from the City today that work will begin next week at the new park on the south side of the former Sherwood Forest School site. Here is the design plan for the park showing the location of the play area, benches, paths, etc. There will be over 30 new native trees planted including sugar maple, silver maple, native red maple, tulip, and basswood. The new trees will be minimum caliper of 50mm, but most will be 60 or 70mm caliper. The city is also looking into some larger ones.

The plan shows which of the current trees are slated to remain including the large basswood tree. The City does need to remove some of the existing trees that are in poor health. The tree removals in the park are expected to begin on Tuesday of next week, and completed within a few days.

If you have any questions about the project, Stephanie Wilson is the city staff person who is coordinating the project.

Stephanie Wilson, OALA, CSLA
Project Coordinator, Parks Planning & Design
stwilson@london.ca
P: 519.661.CITY (2489) x 1871 | | Fax: 519. 963.1483