Currently Browsing: The Issues

Budget 2020

At January 27 Council there is a report recommending approval of the budget which was originally tabled on Jan. 13.  I consider the recommended 2.89% net tax levy increase to be appropriate.  As reviewed in the report our financial profile is in good shape:  our debit is declining and we are far below the maximum borrowing capacity; we are making steady annual contributions to the infrastructure reserves. The draft 2020 budget continues this performance.  The proposed net tax levy increase translates to a forecasted increase of $200.33 on the blended property tax of a home with an assessed value of $850,000.  (In 2020 average assessment increase is 3.2%; for properties which increased more than the average the forecasted blended tax rate increase will be greater than $200.33; if increased less than 3.2% the property tax increase will be less.)  Impact on blended property tax is only a forecast as the levies from Region and Education are not yet finalized.


Budget Review

The 2020 draft operating budget and draft 2020-2022 capital budget has been tabled.  They have been prepared per the direction given by Council that the annual tax levy is not to be greater than 2.9%.  The draft budget proposes 2.89% for 2020 and forecast 2.88% for 2021 and 2.85% for 2022.  On January 17th Council will receiving the budgets and will begin the process of understanding and discussing.  Intent is to approve a budget January 27.  Below I have identified how public can review the budget; public are invited to provide comment either at the Committe of Whole (COW) meetings or to provide feedback to me and/or other members of Council.

Council meetings January 17 are very much focussed on budget.  At 5 pm there is a Committee of Whole (COW) Working Session at which Finance will review in detail the budget; public is able to listen.  At 6 the regular Council and COW will begin; in the latter the sole agenda item is the draft budget.   Here is the Staff report. To see the schedules identified in the Staff report, click here and scroll down.  Staff have also digitized the budget binder which is very comprehensive:  full review of business plans and program changes.   As always public can make deputations during the COW.

At time of writing I have not had adequate time to make comment. I welcome your comments.


Energy Management & Conservation Plan again

In Council December 2nd agenda there is a revised summary report for a corporate energy management and conservation plan; the background data/statistics and the specific proposed actions are in appendix A.   (It is a revision to the report presented at an earlier Council meeting which was referred back to Staff.)  I am very disappointed that Staff is recommending that we reduce our target of a 45% reduction in GHG by 2030 which Council unanimously adopted  5 months ago.  I am opposed as there is no rationale except that we don’t know exactly how we will achieve it and we know that it will be difficult to accomplish.  45 % is a bodacious target and its based on science.  The new proposed lower one is neither. I totally agree that any changes in service levels needs to carefully considered with community consultation which was erroneously not defined in the original report.  Page 46 of Appendix A identifies possible projects over next 3 years for reducing GHG and energy consumption; actual execution will be a function of budget deliberations and identifying other funding sources.  We need to have a 10 year plan identifying the possibilities for achieving 45%.


Draft Tree By-law

At November 18 Council there is a report on the draft tree bylaw for private property in the 3 villages.  As reviewed in the report there has been a significant public consultation process since the draft was presented at Council in June.  I am shocked at the feedback as it is does not reflect what I have heard in my election campaigns and in subsequent conversations with constituents. Of course I have heard a variety of viewpoints; and I know that for some there is a deep concern about the priority of personal property rights.  In addition, since the draft was released both this blog and in personal emails I have heard opposition; hence I didn’t expect the survey to show unanimous endorsement but I didn’t expect what was the outcome. I am not comfortable in accepting Staff recommendation to simply drop the bylaw concept for reasons I have identified below. I also do not understand the alternative tools proposed for further investigation and will be asking for more information.


How To Meet Our 45% Reduction in GHG

On Council agenda for Nov. 18 there is the Staff report for Township’s Corporate Energy Management and Conservation Plan 2019-2023.  It has been drafted to align with the aggressive target of 45% reduction of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2030.  The report is comprehensive in defining sources of GHG, positive initiatives & impact thereof already underway, options for reducing GHG.  The required investments for the latter is not yet fully defined and accordingly how we will fund them is still uncertain.  As indicated the upcoming budget process will start to address the latter.  I am optimistic after studying the report:  the necessary analysis of current state has been done; we have already done some worthwhile projects; specific recommendations are identified.