Growth impact squeezed out, bid fails to eliminate Gibson
Projected Growth from assessment has been adjusted upwards to $548,098
in the latest draft of New Tecumseth's 2013 municipal budget.
When applied against the $2 million increase in proposed spending, the
tax levy hike is reduced from 8.8 per cent to 7.52 per cent or $1.5
million over last year.
That reduction was short lived after councillors voted to include funds
in the budget to hire up to six full-time firefighters at a cost of
$303,324 that raised the proposed levy hike to approximately nine per
With the fire department expenditure, the Town's proposed operating
budget breaks through the $30 million for the first time ever. With $7
million in anticipated revenues, and transfers from reserves, it leaves
a shortfall of approximately $23 million to be financed from taxation.
Council's next budget working session is Tuesday night, and public
input session Wednesday at 7 pm. To date, there has been no substantive
debate about making cuts to bring down the tax rate.
But there were flare-ups last night, particularly Ward 4 councillor
Fran Sainsbury who sought, but failed to get the $25,000 annual grant
to the Gibson Centre set aside at least until its fate is determined,
nor could she find support to eliminate a planned $24,755 contribution
to the BIAs to support their services.
"It's just we really have to set our priorities and decide what
business are we in, and this is other people's money that we're
spending, it's not our own money and they're not going to be too happy
about anything that we do in this budget if it is a nine per cent
increase for taxes," said Ms. Sainsbury. "My concern is, in the press I
read that the Gibson family have extended the (mortgage) for six more
months. So even if we leave it in the budget, and everything is fine,
and it just goes on the way it has been at the Gibson Centre, fine. But
I don't want to release it early until we find out what's happening
with that building."
The arts and cultural grant has been set at $100,000 for the past few
years, with $25,000 each allocated to South Simcoe Railway, South
Simcoe Arts Council, and the Gibson Centre. The remaining funds are
disbursed by request. The 2013 draft budget has reduced the figure to
$90,000, but Ms. Sainsbury's motion would have put it at $75,000.
"It isn't that I don't want to give it," she said, "I don't mind even
leaving it in. I just don't want to give it until a decision has been
made by that board, because to give it early and find out it folds,
we've poured ($25,000) down a dark hole."
Ward 1 councillor Bob Marrs said his objection to the line item was
that $10,000 was cut from the grant.
"The only thing I had marked down on this is why we are reducing it,"
said Mr. Marrs. "This is things that a growing community is going to
continue to use, we shouldn't even be reducing it. To sit here and talk
about taking money out of that, if you want to save money, let's find
something to save money on, when it comes to this, this shouldn't even