Increases to salaries, benefits, pension contributions, bulk
of tax levy hike
New Tecumseth councillors have held five budget working sessions since
January 7, and in that time have added more than $82,000 to the
proposed net levy which sits at about $22.5 million, or 7.8 per cent
higher than 2012.
The increase to the tax bill for municipal purposes, on a residential
property with the average assessed value of $305,891, will be approximately $116 if
no further changes are made to the budget draft which moves to
committee for a vote on Monday night. When the estimated tax rates for
the County, up $9, and education, a decrease of $17, are factored in,
the total bill will be about $3,200 a 3.5 per cent increase.
The amount needed by taxation increases by one per cent for every
$204,000 that's added in spending to the year before. In 2013, the
budget increases spending by about $2.6 million. However, with more
than $500,000 in assessment from growth, $7.45 million in projected
revenues, and transfers from various reserves leaves about $1.7 million
required in additional taxes. Of that, about $1.5 million is to
cover incremental escalation of salaries, wages, benefits, and
retirement contributions for Town employees ($600k), OPP ($607k), and
the addition of six-full-time firefighters ($303k).
Listed as "various" items in the budget review pages, the labour cost
increases are the fastest growing annual expenditures. Since 2009, a
"contingency" fund has been utilized to set money aside for planned
hikes, which are then distributed through the departments once the
budget is approved.
In 2009, the contingency was $50,000. In 2010, that grew to $101,514,
plus $128,694 set aside for COLA impacts. In 2011, there was $226,301
set up for "2011 market adjustment" which raised the number of managers
collecting over $100,000 per year. Contingency was $203,890, and
$201,000 for benefit and OMERS (pension) increases.
And in the 2013, there is $184,536 in contingency for a COLA increase,
$289,737 for salaries and wages, and new staff, $121,536 for OMERs and