Innisfil Councillor Stan Daurio (Ward 4) says, “Innisfil’s 2017 and 2018 proposed budgets are a sad story of excessive spending increases.” This year the town has replaced its traditional five-year budget planning for operating and capital costs with a two-year budget plan.
Daurio is asking you, if you agree with his objectives, to let council know your opinion. You can support his efforts to reduce these increases by emailing the mayor and councillors (see link below) urging them to work to reduce the increases, or you can simply show support by attending the council meetingtomorrow November 16 in support of those who speak.
Councillor Daurio is attempting to have council send the operating budget back to staff to try to achieve a cap of 4 per cent on annual tax increases. Yesterday November 14 and today November 15, council is carefully scrutinizing the budget proposals. If his efforts to send the proposed budgets back to staff fail, he plans to file a Notice of Motion at the Wednesday November 16 council meeting. The notice will be read and debated in public at the Wednesday December 16 council meeting:
‘Whereas, in our opinion, a staff-proposed increase in our cost of 8.14 per cent for 2017 over 2016, and 12.02 per cent for 2018 over 2017 is unjustified, and whereas, in our opinion, an escalating capital levy is no longer sustainable, and whereas, our long term debt and debt policies provide ample opportunity to share long term debt with a future generation of taxpayers, be it therefore resolved that the capital levy be eliminated, and be it also resolved that the Treasurer be requested to bring back a proposal for use of debt financing — within current Town policy, to eliminate the capital levy from future operting budgets, and that the operating budget be referred back to staff with the objective of reducing the increase for 2017 to no more than 4 per cent — exclusive of the capital levy, and the increase for 2018 to no more than 4 per cent.”
Town staff has proposed budgets that hike the tax bill for the average residential property valued at $381,000 by 2.44 per cent in both years. Staff suggested a $29.6 million budget for 2017 and a $33.2 million budget for 2018. But Daurio believes that the town’s portion of the tax bill should be in line with the smaller increases proposed by South Simcoe Police, the County of Simcoe and the education portion (.39 per cent, 2 per cent and minus 3.19 per cent respectively.)
Another issue is the 1 per cent capital levy expected to bring in $4.5 million in 2017 and $5.5 million in 2018. It is not included in town’s base operating budget, however, the monies generated by it go into operating costs. In effect, it is a “real” tax.
Councillor Daurio wants to cap the operating budget increases to 4 per cent annually, then debt-finance the moneys previously generated by the capital levy. He believes this would generate enough tax dollars “to cover increases in wages, grade step increases, material and energy cost increases, etc.
- Staff says it needs an 8 per cent increase in 2017 and a 12 per cent increase for 2018 to meet growth demands, but council did not set initial objectives to allow for a fair increase to taxpayers.
- Assessment has grown by 3.25 per cent, however, the number of houses has only grown by 2 per cent
- The town is receiving significant benefits from responsible budgets for Education, County and Police
- Setting early targets of 8 and 12 per cent increases and debating increases in public could have resulted in more responsible budgets, a less onerous budget exercise, and would let taxpayers know that council was working for them
- The 1 per cent capital levy that annually brings in 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent of Innisfil’s revenue annually, but is not included in the base budget as a “tax”
- “Proposed SLC” indicates service level changes that are meant to be optional projects that council might “like” to do
- MPAC has increased assessments on some residential properties in Innisfil by 6.8 per cent in 2016
Mr. Daurio has many years of municipal budget planning as chair of finance and budgets for the city of Markham and was Bell Canada’s Ontario budget manager.