Thursday, February 22, 2024

Thoughts on Municipal Budget

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

After reading your reporting of council’s budget deliberations, it is appears that staff are holding fast at 4.06% increase in residential taxes. Any further reduction would impact services, but staff didn’t say what services. However, each year staff announces an annual surplus, usually more than $500,000. I would suggest, that budget deliberations are well into the first quarter of the year. Staff should have a fairly good estimate the size of the annual 2018 surplus.

What puzzles me, is that council and staff never want to suggest using the previous year’s annual surplus to help pay for necessary budget items and enhancements in current budget. Maybe both considered the annual surplus as their piggy bank and can be used for projects that didn’t go through the normal budget process. Could some of the surplus be designated to the new library as we see unforeseen expenses starting to add up? We don’t know.

The annual surplus comes from the yearly tax levy. It should applied to the next year’s budget before any tax increase is suggested. Perhaps, even better, staff should only budget for projects that can be completed in that year and all the other savings such as unspent wages due to vacant positions that are not filled in a reasonable time.

Douglas Robinson, Leith

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