Business concerned by city tax hike

The steep increase in this year’s city budget is likely to stir mixed responses in the business community, says the president of the York Chamber of Commerce.
“I guess my reaction is it’s high,” said Don Oszli, said of the 6.7 per cent municipal tax increase approved by city council Monday night.
The chamber had pencilled in the inflation rate as a reasonable increase.
“I think you’re going to see a mixed reaction. I think you’re going to see some thinking that it was probably inevitable.”
It was probably unrealistic for people to expect the city to continue to bring back no tax increases as it did for a number of years in the 1990s, he said.
The size of the increase may not sit well with some who will prefer that it be spread over two years.
Oszli said the tax increases will not be as hard on homeowners as those running businesses who face a heavier burden of costs.
Oszli credits council with taking the right tack on the budget process.
“I guess overall there appears to be some longer term planning that was put into this year’s budget.”
One of the Chamber’s concerns was that the city not neglect infrastructure. That takes on even more importance in a fast-growing city.
The Chamber took a more active role in this year’s budget. It prepared a report last October suggesting strategies for dealing with revenue sources, spending and debt financing.
One of the recommendations was that council focus on core responsibilities until the end of the budget process and then look at other items on wish lists.
“I’m not sure we got a total balance on that,” he said.