Windsor's 2024 municipal budget is officially approved, the mayor announced Friday.
In a press release, Dilkens said the final tax increase will be 3.91 per cent and he had accepted all amendments proposed by councillors, not exercising his veto power.
"This budget is not just a financial plan, but a testament to our continued dedication to service delivery, fiscal responsibility, and strategic growth," Dilkens said in a statement. "This fiscal prudence has a significant impact on daily life for folks across the entire community."
This budget marks the first Dilkens has prepared using enhanced mayor powers granted by the province last year.
Under this framework, it was up to Dilkens to prepare the budget and present it to council before members of the public had an opportunity to share their thoughts with council, and councillors themselves were able to propose amendments.
Dilkens said he appreciated the community and councillor feedback during the process, and was able to meet with each member of council one-on-one prior to tabling the budget.
Earlier this week, councillors proposed their amendments including tweaks to downtown parking enforcement, the Festival Plaza project and the Jackson Park bandshell.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens is pictured in a January 2024 file photo. (Dalson Chen/CBC)
The budget proposed enforcing paid parking downtown until 9 p.m., but businesses said they worried it would drive away customers. Ward 3 Coun. Renaldo Agostino made the amendment to scrap any changes to parking enforcement.
Council also opted to go with the cheapest option they were presented for Festival Plaza, opting not to install a canopy with a $67 million price tag.
Instead councillors instead opted to spend about $17 million on improving amenities, "greening" the plaza and installing a water feature.
Councillors also opted to move ahead with a feasibility study on the Jackson Park bandshell, but capped the study cost at $120,000 — down from the original estimate of $300,000.
Following that meeting, Dilkens said he believed the process was more efficient than previous budget cycles.
One political expert said it's very possible that could be the case, but the process would play out differently in each municipality.
"Because if the mayor effectively has majority support on council already for his or her vision of the budget, if you have the mayor making all the choices, then it certainly cuts down on council's work, right?" he said.
"I think the dynamics of this are going to be really different from one city to another."