Volume 93, Issue 33

Thursday, October 28, 1999


Animal researchers targeted

Facutly complaint makes Carleton ad history

Student council endorses officer's pay increase

Tax freeze priority of city budget

Chinese language to surpass French

Pigs fill trough of medical research


Bass ackwards

Tax freeze priority of city budget

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

The proposal for the annual budget of the year 2000 was deemed a solid step towards a city tax freeze by London's mayor and city councillors.

The budget, entitled Investing in Our Community, was tabled yesterday morning by the Board of Control, said Nigel Bellchamber, London's treasurer and commissioner of finance and administration.

If accepted by city council on Dec. 14, London residents will see a 0.9 per cent tax increase, amounting to $14.86 more per property owner. Yet, London mayor Dianne Haskett said the proposal still provides room to achieve the city's goal of a zero per cent tax increase on property owners.

"I believe it is possible to achieve a tax freeze with what the City has proposed," Haskett said, adding the proposal has provided the council with a solid base for developing a cost cutting strategy.

Deputy Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said the proposal recommendations make shaving the required $2.47 million from the budget achievable. "Now that we have a proposal, as a council we have to decide how much more we want to sharpen our pencils," she said.

City controller Russ Monteith said while he was confident a zero sum budget was in sight, responsible budgeting is still important. "It is a reasonable starting point. They gave us some options and I'm sure with our minds we will be able to create some other options."

DeCicco said finding a balance between social spending and being fiscally responsible is a problem which may get in the way of a tax freeze.

The proposed budget includes a number of investments, including a $2.5 million commitment to the biotechnology incubator planned for Western's research park, Bellchamber said. The incubator, he explained, is a joint project between the Biotech Incubator Corporation, a steering committee formed by the city and the university.

Susan Crowley, executive director of the corporation, said she was thrilled about the announcement, adding the grant is in line with a request she made this summer for $5 million over the next two years.

"This is definitely a sign we are dealing with a progressive city council," Crowley said. "It is clear they have taken a leap of faith based on the current state of our plans. It is very encouraging for us."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999