City get­ting provin­cial cash to cope with le­gal­ized pot

$185,590 pro­vided for in­creased polic­ing, para­medic ser­vices costs

The Peterborough Examiner - - Front Page - JOELLE KO­VACH Ex­am­iner Staff Writer

The City of Peter­bor­ough can ex­pect money soon from the provin­cial gov­ern­ment to help off­set costs that may arise from the le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis, states a new city staff re­port.

Peter­bor­ough can ex­pect $185,590 this year from Queen’s Park to help cover costs such as in­creased polic­ing and para­medic ser­vices, states the re­port.

On Mon­day, coun­cil­lors will dis­cuss the mat­ter dur­ing bud­get talks.

The provin­cial money is com­ing from a $40 mil­lion fund the gov­ern­ment is hand­ing out over the next two years.

The city staff re­port states that the city can ex­pect its money in two equal pay­ments, in 2019 — one cheque in Jan­uary and an­other in March.

The sec­ond pay­ment is com­ing be­cause coun­cil voted on Dec. 3 not to “opt out” of al­low­ing pri­vate pot shops to set up in the city, states the re­port.

More funds could come later over the next two years, the re­port fur­ther states, “if ex­cise taxes ex­ceed cer­tain lev­els.”

City staff rec­om­mends put­ting the money into a re­serve fund.

It’s one of many top­ics that coun­cil­lors will dis­cuss as part of bud­get talks next week.

Over four con­sec­u­tive evenings, coun­cil­lors are ex­pected to de­bate all as­pects of a draft bud­get doc­u­ment for 2019 that would im­pose a 2.5 per cent tax hike.

In ad­di­tion to $70.4 mil­lion for con­struc­tion, the draft bud­get rec­om­mends spend­ing a $282.1 mil­lion to carry out city ser­vices.

For an av­er­age tax­payer with a house as­sessed at $251,700, a 2.5 per cent tax in­crease would add about $98.52 to the bill.

For that home­owner, the to­tal tax bill would be about $4,038.

That’s an all-in­clu­sive in­crease, mean­ing it in­cludes the mu­nic­i­pal taxes plus the ed­u­ca­tion tax, stormwa­ter and sewer sur­charge.

On Mon­day, coun­cil­lors will re­view the bud­gets for coun­cil, com­mu­nity and leg­isla­tive ser­vices and plan­ning.

On Tues­day there will be agency pre­sen­ta­tions (from mu­nic­i­pally funded out­side agen­cies, such as Peter­bor­ough Po­lice).

On Wed­nes­day coun­cil will de­bate the bud­get for util­ity ser­vices and on Thurs­day it’s com­mu­nity ser­vices.

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