This Week at City HallI didn’t make it to today’s launch of the 2013 budget at city hall. Instead, I trudged to my daughter’s school and back because the school bus fleet was grounded by snow. Made for a vigorous morning. And I still have trenches to dig!

But with this year’s massive property tax increase, I can shovel away content in the knowledge that not only will there be money to rebuild my sidewalk but maybe there’ll be cash enough left over to hire fleets of mini-snow plows that’ll ride up and down our sidewalks while we sleep, clearing footpaths like diligent little snow gnomes.

Or maybe, that hike has drained the last of my sanity and left me lost in a world of arctic fantasy. Maybe I didn’t trudge all the way back from school and I’m typing this in a snowbank and only think I’m safe at home by the fire.

Think well of me, Regina, when you discover my frozen corpse. And know that I died because the dude in the beige house down the way hasn’t shoveled his walk since November and the drifts outside his place had grown too high.

I could trudge no more and expired.

At least I can still type.

Where was I? Oh right. Mill rate increase. It’s 4.45 per cent. Yep. It’s a big one.

Here’s what the press release says of this (and, man, the WiFi in this snow bank is better than at city hall):

City Administration is proposing a 4.45 per cent mill rate increase for 2013. If approved, this increase would bring the City’s capital and operating budgets to $424 million.

In 2010 City Council approved 9 per cent annual rate increases for the Water & Sewer Utility for 2011 to 2013. With the increase for 2013, the water and sewer budgets total $142 million.

With the proposed mill rate increase and approved water rate increase, the City’s total budget for 2013 will be $566 million.

No word yet on what this works out to in cups of coffee per month per household. But I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

I’ll have more on the city budget next week and in the next issue. But know that, thanks to dude in the beige house and the city’s stubborn refusal to institute a shoveling bylaw, all further updates will be coming from beyond the grave.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’m actually safe at home by the fire but am so worn out from that hike that I only think I’m lying dead in a snowbank dreaming about being safe at home by the fire….