Sunday, July 21, 2024

Mayor Clumpus Statement About 2016 Budgets

Letter to the Editor

Prior to the start of the mandatory public meeting with regard to the 2016 municipal budgets held in Bognor on December 7, Mayor Barb Clumpus read a prepared statement about the budget process, and to address inaccurate statements made by some residents about the budgets.

Below is the full text of the mayor’s statement about the 2016 municipal budgets:

The 2016 budget schedule was set in May 2015. For Council, this process began formally on September 14, 2015 when we established the budget framework for staff to not exceed 2% for the tax supported operating budget.

Public meetings have been well advertised through notices in tax and water bills; there have been 9 separate presentations of the proposed 2016 operating budget with an opportunity through questions to staff or through the public meetings which were held in Council Chambers on November 7, at the United Church in Annan on November 16, and at the Bognor Community centre on December 7.

As Mayor, I am very proud of our comprehensive process of incorporating public input into the business of the Municipality. The opinions, input and concerns of residents and the community are essential to the budget process. However, it is also very important that any information provided to or by the residents, as well as that from the media, is factual. Misinformation, and in particular repeatedly stated misinformation, is not responsible because it hinders the process of ensuring that accurate budget information is received by residents and the community.

While it is not our practice to respond to letters to the editor or other printed misinformation, it is important that I take this to provide clarification.

The gross operating budget of the Municipality of Meaford is about $21.3 million, and the draft tax supported operating (net) budget is $12,650.045. The base budget increase from 2015 to 2016 is $53,045 or 0.419%.

The proposed 2016 budget includes additional funding requests amounting to $245,795 over the 2015 base budget. Of this, $223,850 is directed to infrastructure funding including the preservation model. The proposed 2016 budget is a 1.943% increase over 2015.

With grant funding received, $3.2 million of the proposed 2016 capital budget will be spent on road reconstruction. This includes $1 million from the tax supported operating budget.

– The 2016 draft budget includes the salaries of staff for the following:

– Full time $3,954,479,

– Part time: $746,465,

– Volunteer Firefighters $150,000

– Council $151,750.

– Total is $5,002,694 and not $6.5 million.

As I already mentioned, the gross operating budget of the Municipality of Meaford is about $21.3 million. Total salaries of about $5 million represents about 23% before employer contributions, benefits and pensions. $6.5 million as a percentage of $21.3 million is about $30.5%.

The salary of individuals do not include employer mandatory wage related contributions such as WSIB, CPP, UIC, benefits or pension contributions of the employer. The average salary of a staff member with the municipality of Meaford is not $81,000. No member of staff receives a bonus and beginning with the 2013 budget, our CAO also eliminated the prior practice of car allowances.

The Municipality of Meaford will be applying the funding provided by Grey County of approximately $329,000 to a one time capital project in 2016. I am not aware of which other municipalities in Grey County, if any, applied this one time funding to offset their tax rates. The proposed project is the reconstruction of Concession 2 North from sideroad 22 to sideroad 24.

A new organizational structure became effective September 10, 2015 and included the reduction in full time staff positons from 61 to 59. This resulted in approximately $231,000 in savings which will be applicable to the tax supported and user pay budgets for 2016. These positions were not replaced with permanent full time contract positions.

With respect to the amount included in the 2016 draft budget for a partnership program with a condo corporation for a pilot project to provide indoor pool services, the first partial year is budgeted at $69,500 net (gross expenses less revenues) and not $100,000. The net amount projected for 2017 is $99,950 and for 2018 is $97,300. These specific amounts have been itemized in a number of budget presentations. The Municipality of Meaford currently operates an outdoor pool which is open approximately 2.5 months per year. Council’s strategic priorities reflect the importance of recreation services to our quality of life, and indeed, to a welcoming, vibrant community which will attract economic growth. The provision of aquatic services is not a frill especially for a waterfront community.

With respect to the information that indoor pools cannot be afforded by municipalities with populations under 50,000, the following municipalities all have a population under 50,000, and all support indoor swimming pools:

Collingwood, (2011 pop. 19,241) – Centennial Aquatic Centre

Wasaga Beach, (2011 pop. 17,537) – RecPlex Oakview Community Centre (YMCA)

Saugeen Shores (2011 pop. 12,660) – Centennial Pool, Port Elgin

Hanover (2010 pop. 7,490) – P&H Centre – Hanover “Regional” Aquatic Centre (also services residents of West Grey pop. 12,286)

Owen Sound (2011 pop. 21,690) – Julie McArthur “Regional” Recreation Centre (YMCA)

Kincardine (2011 pop. 11,174) – Davidson Centre

Orangeville (2011 pop. 27,974) – Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre

Georgina (2011 pop. 43,517) – Georgina Leisure Pool

Timmins (2011 pop. 43,165) – Archie Dillon Sportsplex Pool

Bracebridge (2011 pop. 15,414) – Bracebridge Sportsplex

Elliott Lake (2011 pop. 11,348) – Ruben Yli-Juuti Centre

Innisfil (2011 pop. 32,727) – Innisfil Recreation Complex (YMCA is program provider)

Barb Clumpus

Mayor, Municipality of Meaford

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