Total tax levy for 2015 to come forward at next Council meeting
March 11, 2015
To Comment on this article Click Here
Saugeen Shores 2015 Capital budget came forward at Monday night's Council meeting with a recommended tax levy increase of 3.86 %.
The revised Capital budget has been reduced by $2,581,505 from 2014 budgeted capital spending. The net burden to be applied as part of the 2015 tax levy is $1,211,621 which is an increase of almost $77,000 over 2014 or 0.73% to capital.
A large amount of capital projects are expected to be completed through a combination of tax dollars, donations, Federal Gas Tax funding, user fees, development charges and reserve transfers. The total capital budget is estimated to be $5.6M.
Among major 2015 Capital projects are:
There are also projects that have been carried over from 2014 for completion this year. Also, because there are still outstanding items in the Operating Budget, it was recommended that the Capital and Operation budgets be approved separately in order to move forward.
Councilor Don Matheson raised the issue of the Recreation Master Plan budgeted for 2016. He said that he would like to see the plan brought forward into 2015.
Town Treasurer, Kate Allan, said that there are funding options - to fund through the tax levy increasing it to over 4%, defer an existing project and apply that funding to the Plan or use reserve funds to avoid impact on the tax levy.
Vice Deputy Diane Huber expressed grave concern over approving a budget that has two components to it. "We don't have the other piece of the budget and I find it discouraging that we are making a decision in isolation from the other part of the operations budget. I don't think we have completely captured areas that need capturing such as the project at Adelaide St. and the Highway. There are also significant challenges with the air quality at the police station and now that seems to have off the list. I also find it confusing that on February 4th we received information about reserves and I would have expected them to end up where we anticipated but now the reserve numbers are really different than those on February 4th. There are significant changes to numbers and I would like to know why."
She also said that Council is being asked to "push this through without the other part of the budget and I don't understand the urgency ... I am very very concerned. We are keeping the increase low but less than 1% is for capital and capital is the tangible stuff. I'm not sure with the balance being skewed so much to operating when it's an increase overall. I think we are being asked too much before we have all the information."
Councilor Mike Myatt said that the Recreation Master Plan would take some time, particularly, with a new Committee coming on board. "I would like to see staff move forward with Terms of Reference without any financial commitment today. There are lots of other comparable studies out there and perhaps in the next few months we can get the Terms of Reference and bring this back to Council in November for discussion."
Matheson said that he wanted to see the funds for the Plan taken out of reserves in the sum of $45,000.
Huber said that the Town has a lot of things that have been started and not followed through on. "We have a lot of things on the list that are not even close to being realized. How do we add something else in when we have all these other things we don't seem to be doing anything about. I am hesitant about starting something else when we have downtown 'stuff', the waterfront and the pool is another thing. I think we are spreading ourselves incredibly thin right now."
Matheson pointed out that if there are government monies in the future, that a plan has to be ready to be able to access the funds.
Mayor Mike Smith said that the Recreation Master Plan and the pool
are two completely separate issues. He also said that given
the Provincial government's $12Billion debt, he thought it unlikely
there would be any funding programs until 2018 and that there would
probably be more downloading where the municipality would become
responsible. "I think we have a lot on our plate this year ...
a pool issue, three new committees that will require staff, two
downtowns. You can't do everything right now."Director of
Community Services Jayne Jagelewski said that in her view Terms of
Reference for the Recreation Master Plan would require public
Click on the ads for more information
books, sports, movies ...
Wednesday, March 11, 2015