Steinbach City Council adopted their 2024 financial plan at Tuesday evening's council meeting.

The capital projects are budgeted at $62.7 million for 2024, with $46.1 million going toward the Southeast Event Centre.

Other capital projects include Loewen/PTH 12 intersection renewal, Lift Station #2 upgrade, and Hanover St. reconstruction. 

This year the City of Steinbach is taking on $16 million in new debt, while paying off $1.5 million of debt. 

Councillor Michael Zwaagstra says that throughout his years on council, this was likely their toughest budget. 

“The reason why it’s so difficult is because we’ve been dealing with inflation, particularly in regards to construction costs. This is not unique to us, we’re seeing this across the country.” 

He says that as a council, they are not willing to sacrifice the quality of the services that Steinbach residents receive, or the city’s infrastructure projects, which is why property taxes are going up. 

“We have a lot of projects that are happening this year in regards to infrastructure renewal. Interest rates are also higher on our loans, so 4.18 percent average is still good, when you look historically, but it’s not the 2 percent that we have been used to getting for quite some time.” 

Residents can expect a 5.1 percent increase in municipal property taxes from 2023. 

There will be an overall average 4 percent increase to utility rates, and a 2.6 percent increase for residential garbage collection. 

The overall projected revenue for the City of Steinbach in 2024 is just under $38.5 million, with $19.8 million of that coming from property taxes.  

The average market value for a dwelling in Steinbach is roughly $225,000, based on this, the average city property tax bill is $121.50 per month. 

Zwaagstra says they are continuing to prioritize the city’s infrastructure and recreation renewal, and also continue providing the needed funding for services like the fire department and RCMP. 

“So we are continuing to provide the excellent services that people have become accustomed to, and the only way to be able to continue doing all that is to go with this budget, which does mean that this year there is this increase.” 

Councillor Jac Siemens says council has always focused on infrastructure renewal. 

“And we have a lot fewer issues within in our community with our infrastructure that many other communities have.” 

Councillor Damian Penner explains why infrastructure renewal shouldn’t be procrastinated on. 

“There is infrastructure that is constantly needing to be renewed, and we need to stay on top of that because with kicking the can down the road you create bigger problems later, and more expensive problems later. And then you’re looking at shortfall.” 

Penner adds it’s important to remember that they are dealing with a budget where there isn’t a lot of discretionary spending. 

“I don’t hear residents saying that they want dirtier water or their toilets not to flush, that they want to roads to fall apart, that they don’t want their garbage collected. These are essential items on our budget line.”