Friday, November 16, 2012

2013 Budget Approval-Debt Increases!

If you care about the taxes you are paying, you may want to attend the budget approval meeting by Springwater Council on Monday Nov 19th at the Admin centre on Nursery Road at 5:30.
The council plans to increase debt by $2.5 million in addition to last year's $2 million which now approaches $10 million in debt or about half the property assessment tax revenue. The cost of the debt which will double over the next 5 years now accounts for 10% of assessment revenue and will end up being 20% at the end of the plan.
The Council needs to rethink its strategy. I agree with investment in infrastructure but it must be done on a responsible manner. Other areas of spending need to be curtailed to allow for the infrastructure investment or the debt will get out of control ending up with huge tax increases after this council is gone.
By the end of the term of this council the debt will be the highest ever in Springwater. The present councillors except for maybe two seem to be oblivious to the follies of debt. Debt does not add value and wastes valuable tax resources that could be invested in township services. This council seems to be going in the same direction as our provincial and federal governments which is saddling future generations with unsustainable debt.
Come out and speak out or be prepared to pay forever. Your voice counts.

Here are some highlights:

Salaries increased by $112K, includes:

•Decrease in staffing level as the 2011 staff restructuring plan finalized

•Addition of a one year contract Community Development Officer

•Increased staffing budget in Recreation Programs for inclusion staff and Library for a restoration of previous reduced hours

•Cost of Living allowance of 2%

Increased spending in Public Works, Planning, Economic Development, Recreation Programming, Administration and Library

$5.9M capital plan (including equipment) proposed funded as follows:

Funding Source and Amount

Development Charge $1.5M

Tax $585K

Reserves $605K

Gas Tax $345K

Buyback Funding $365

Debt $2.5M !

Author's comment:
If staffing decreased, why $112,000 increase in salaries?
Note that Public Works debt spending is more than 4 times the tax revenue for this department. Does it not seem odd to borrow 4 times the revenue source since the assessment tax is the only guaranteed revenue. Development charges are not a guarantee nor is the Gas Tax in the long term!