Council Votes: 5.66% tax increase on King portion

At 3/28 special King Council, Council voted 4/2 for a 5.66% increase on King portion of property tax.  2011 blended rate will be 2.62%; on residents with $514,000 assessment, increase is $139.90/year.

I was one of the two not supporting this plan.  The cost savings exercise by Township staff to decrease the earlier proposal of 13.9 to the 5-6% range did reveal some valuable opportunities; accordingly I did become comfortable with a tax increase in the 7-8% range.  I do believe, however,  that 5.66% is not enough; activities are being delayed and/or eliminated which should be executed in 2011.

There is nothing to be gained at this point, by repeating my specific concerns as I have covered this in previous postings.   Obviously I hope that the right thing is being done for the King tax payer.  Providing that new assessments materialize as  forecasted, that we have control of our costs and that nothing unexpected occurs it will be okay.  The big opportunity will clearly be creating and executing a new integrated sustainability plan.

I want to thank those citizens (including two from Ward 5) who attended the 3/28 Council meeting and made deputations.  These deputations , in addition to emails and blog postings during the last couple weeks have been valuable.  I truly hope that over the next couple years more people will feel inclined to tell us, your elected officials, what you think we should do.

Clearly you have had an impact.  The 1st draft budget recommended an increase of ~7%; the second recommended 13.9%; Council voted for a 5.66%.

Some highlights from the approved 2011 budget:

i)  Budget does include funds for a 6 month contract for a Heritage Planner.  I do believe that we need capability of a Heritage Planner; and realistically I believe we cannot afford a full time permanent.  Given that it is already end of March, it is practical to think about 6 months for CY 11. It is my expectation that this person will help us understand what capability we should have ongoing.  And, very importantly this person will get us started on managing & protecting effectively our heritage assets.  (Note:  funds for this initiative are not incremental to previous year as we have simply re-directed budget allocated to the Heritage Committee.)

ii)  Thanks to the persistence of Councillor Mortelliti, the Council budget vote includes maintaining $326,000 from the gas tax originally allocated to pavement surface treatment on the 8th BUT ultimate use of the funds (i.e. which road to be improved) will be delayed until we have assessment from the firm conducting Township wide assessment of roads.  I am not opposed to the 8th being improved; I am simply opposed to it being selected as a recipient of scarce capital dollars when it has not been compared to other roads.

iii)  For 2011, $240,000 will be set aside for responding to the golf course MPAC re-assessments.  Ultimately we will likely be refunding $500,000 over the next couple years but  I agree that it is adequate to include about 50% this year as it will then be part of base for next year.

iv)  Opening the Trisan Center is costing all King tax payers about $200,000.  There is a commitment that no further infusions of cash will be required as the recreational facility is going to be self sustaining. Whether one was a supporter of the facility or not we have it.  It is an excellent facility.  Hence, it needs to be opened with correct administrative and staff support.

This budget process has been a significant learning experience…in many ways!  We are very very fortunate to have a person with the capability of Jeff Schmidt as our Treasurer.  With his information and analysis Council was able to have good discussion on the choices.

One Response to “ “Council Votes: 5.66% tax increase on King portion”

  1. Greg Locke says:

    It’s truly refreshing to have a Councillor who reveals her thoughts, preferences and perspectives on a topic that affects every King taxpayer.

    I am very happy that the contract Heritage Planner position survived the much discussed programme cut options. Though I note your comment that this expense wasn’t incremental in the first place.

    Thank you Debbie!

    Greg Locke

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