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Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Carleton Place residents to see property tax increase in 2017

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 @ 12:11 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Jane Hobson
jane@pdgmedia.ca 

Carleton Place Council approved the 2017 budget, including the 2.1 per cent property tax increase. The increase will mean an additional $27.50 per $200,000 home.

Staff are instructed to proceed with the identified projects contained in the 2017 budget, some of which include: a $1.5 million repair to Central Bridge on Bridge St., $1 million in upgrades to the dressing rooms at the Carleton Place Arena, and $160,000 of upgrades to the exterior of Town Hall.

Smiths Falls councillors balk at proposed tax and water hikes in budget

Thursday, November 17, 2016 @ 10:11 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Chris Must
editorial@pdgmedia.ca

The closure of County Fair Mall will probably cost the town of Smiths Falls about $300,000 a year in commercial taxes, town councillor Chris Cummings told colleagues at a special meeting Nov. 16.

Councillors met to review the first draft of the proposed 2017 town budget, and found themselves facing declining revenues and rising costs. The town’s interim treasurer, Janet Koziel, presented an initial budget report recommending a 3.38 per cent tax increase, along with a 7 per cent hike in water rates and an 8 per cent wastewater rate increase.

Key dates

  • Public budget meeting on Nov. 30 at the  Smiths Falls Community Centre
  • Second draft of the budget is to be presented Dec. 12
  • Final budget approval Jan. 23.

Koziel also advised council that Smiths Falls’ share of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, a provincial infrastructure grant, will decrease by $43,500 next year.

Noting that the combined tax and water rate hikes would add an additional $204 a year to an average assessment in town, Councillor Jay Brennan said, “I think that’s onerous on the taxpayer.”

Brennan said it will be impossible for the town to spend sufficiently on capital projects in the future without significant federal and provincial grants. It is up to council, he said, to “show a little discretion and recognition of the difficulty that people are having in living.”

“The number one comment I get around town is our taxes are too high,” said Councillor Joe Gallipeau, adding that high residential and commercial taxes may be driving away both new residents and businesses.

Acknowledging that town staff had prepared the budget in a clear and understandable manner, Cummings said it was obvious that unless taxes increase, services will have to be reduced.

Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris said the first draft of the budget presents a “worst-case scenario” because the town has applied for grants and won’t hear if the applications were successful until the end of the year. “We don’t have all the answers,” he said.

Morris said ongoing service reviews by town staff will identify further areas for cost savings.

The draft budget includes a list of capital priorities submitted by the heads of each department, ranging from $40,000 to replace video recording equipment in police cruisers to $137,000 for donations to eligible community groups. Some new items in the 2017 budget include funding for a new water and ice rescue service for the fire department, and $48,000 for the town’s share of funding for Canada 150th events next year. Substantial investment in upgrades to roads and water treatment facilities are also planned.

Council plans to hold a public meeting on the budget at the Smiths Falls Community Centre on Nov. 30. The second draft of the budget is to be presented Dec. 12, and the schedule calls for final approval Jan. 23.

In discussion at the Nov. 16 meeting, councillors agreed that an additional meeting should be scheduled to discuss the input received at the public meeting. Staff also suggested that the need to identify cost savings in order to reduce the need for tax increases might make it necessary to delay passage of the budget.

 

Photo by Chris Must: Interim Treasurer Janet Koziel presented her report on the first draft of Smiths Falls’ 2017 budget at a special meeting Nov. 16.

Carleton Place 2017 draft budget presented to public

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 @ 01:11 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Jane Hobson
jane@pdgmedia.ca

During a public meeting held last night (Nov.15) at Carleton Place Town Hall, Carleton Place Treasurer Phil Hogan presented the final draft of the Town of Carleton Place 2017 budget.

As part of the 2017 budget, the Corporate Services Committee of Council (the committee that drafts the budget) is recommending a 2.1 per cent municipal tax increase in Carleton Place in 2017. This increase means the average dollar change for a $200,000 home will be $27.50.

During his presentation, Hogan said in 2016 the residential tax rate comparison between the City of Ottawa and Carleton Place only differed by $50. Ottawa residents paid $1,159 in residential taxes per $100,000 of assessment and residents in Carleton Place paid $1,209 residential taxes per $100,000 of assessment.

Some of the other budget items included:

  • $1.5 million repair to Central Bridge on Bridge Street;
  • $1 million of upgrades to the dressing rooms at the Carleton Place Arena; and
  • $160,000 of upgrades to the outside of Town Hall.

The 2017 budget allocated $30.8 million for municipal operations and capital in 2017.

Now that the budget has been presented to the public, it will be presented to council again for approval.

Smiths Falls council to seek advice on 2017 budget

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 @ 09:10 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Chris Must
editorial@pdgmedia.ca

Smiths Falls Town Councillor Jay Brennan is urging colleagues to encourage public input into the town’s 2017 budget.

At an Oct. 11 meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole, Brennan said that it was important “to reach out and talk to people and get their opinions” during the budget process.

While noting that public meetings in town are often poorly attended, other councillors agreed that ways to encourage input, such as surveys, should be considered.

Councillors agreed to direct staff to research the ways that other municipalities encourage residents to participate in the budget process, and to prepare recommendations.

Smiths Falls on track for a budget surplus

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 @ 11:07 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts
heddy@pdgmedia.ca

The interim report on the town’s 2016 expenditures to date suggest there could be a modest surplus this year.

“Please find attached a copy of the 2016 Budget Departmental Summary showing a projected surplus of $85,461 for the fiscal period ending June 30,” wrote Janet Koziel, Smiths Falls interim treasurer in a report submitted to council.

The full report with a summary outlining the variances is available on the town’s website.

Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 12:04 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

The regular Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 25 and the final draft budget was a topic on the table. Even though the budget recommends a tax increase there was general agreement among council that this year’s increase was necessary to get the town back on track with capital projects that have been long deferred.

The town’s total budget as presented in the draft, shows operational expenditures of $22,947,807, revenues of $24,673,576 and a transfer to reserve of $1,726,769.

Tax increases

A four percent tax hike has been approved by the committee of the whole. The jump reflects a 0.5 percent increase in town taxes (formerly known as the mill rate) plus the 3.5 percent phased in assessment increase. The town portion of that increase (0.5 percent) will cost the average household that is assessed at $163,000 in 2016 an additional $12.90 per year. While the 3.5 percent MPAC assessment increase will add another $77.46 annually.

The tax increase will allow the town to transfer 1.7 million into reserves towards capital projects. “This budget reflects a departure from the way we did things before,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris. “We’re directing monies into reserves because it’s clear we have an infrastructure backlog, and the only way to deal with it is to put money away to apply to it.”

While council members were in agreement there was some discomfort around the horseshoe.

“I have some concerns about affordability of these increases,” said Jay Brennan, councillor. “Do we need to put 1.7 million into reserve all in one year?” asked Joe Gallipeau, councillor.

“So much work has been deferred this far that we’re going to have to catch up. What has to be done now is the most critical work,” said Shawn Pankow, mayor.

Water rate increase
Also starting June 2016 water users in town will see a 7.9 percent increase in their water/wastewater rates, which means an additional $14.46 per bi-monthly billing on average annual consumption of 200 cubic meters.

“If our goal was for cost recovery for the just the water and wastewater plants, we would be there now, but our goal is total cost recovery including delivery and collection, and we’re not there yet,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The town has also started to migrate stormwater costs out of water rates as recommended by the Asset Management Plan consultants.

Budget savings
As directed by council, staff managed to slash nearly $700,000 from the town’s operational budget, a drop of 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The police budget also came lower again this year, with a surplus of $193,000 from 2015. Overall policing now costs the town 30 percent of total budget down from nearly 40 percent in previous years.

“In this fiscal environment, we are doing our part in being sustainable,” said Bob Dowdall, chief of Smiths Falls Police.

The town’s budget report is available online at the town’s website under council minutes and agendas.
The budget will now come forward for first reading at the regular council meeting on May 2nd.

Photo: Presenting the final draft budget to council, CAO Malcolm Morris pointed out that staff had managed to cut nearly $700,000 from the operational budget, through a series of small reductions that added up.

Bennett: What the federal budget means for you

Sunday, April 24, 2016 @ 08:04 AM
posted by admin

Submitted by Steve Bennett of H&R Block

With a majority government, it’s no surprise that the new Liberal government is rolling out many of the expected changes that they promised during the long election campaign. There are many changes and updates in the budget, so let’s take a look at some of the biggest.

Elimination of the Family Tax Cut

This is officially the last year of the Family Tax Cut. This income-splitting measure will have lasted for only two years and was eliminated in favour of the previously announced income tax rate reduction from 22% to 20.5% for the second federal tax bracket.

Elimination of the Children’s Fitness and Arts Credits

These credits will be phased out over the next two years. In 2016, the fitness tax credit and arts credit will be reduced by 50% to $500 and $250, respectively. In 2017, the two credits will be eliminated altogether.

Introduction of the Canada Child Benefit

One of the key planks of the Liberal platform was the restructuring of benefits for families. As promised, the government has eliminated the Universal Child Care Benefit and Canada Child Tax Benefit, replacing them with the new Canada Child Benefit.

The Canada Child Benefit will be based on family net income and will be completely non-taxable. The maximum benefit is $533.33 per month for children under six, and $450 per month for children ages six to 17.

Families with net income below $30,000 will receive the full benefit, while families who earn more will be subject to different phase-out rates based on their income and number of children. With the Canada Child Benefit, the vast majority of families should see enhanced benefits.

Teacher and Early Educator School Supply Tax Credit

This 15% refundable tax credit will allow eligible educators to claim up to $1,000 of teachers’ supplies. Examples of eligible expenses include art supplies, stationery items and materials for science experiments. Teachers will qualify if they hold a teacher’s certificate valid in the province or territory they are employed. Early childhood educators will qualify as long as they hold a certificate or diploma in early childhood education.

Elimination of the Education and Textbook Amounts

For the 2017 tax year, the federal education and textbook amounts will be eliminated, though the credit for tuition will remain in effect. Revenue gained from this credit elimination will be used to enhance the Canada Student Grant Program.

Any unused education and textbook credit carry-forward from prior years will remain available to use in 2017 and subsequent years.

Cancellation of the age increase for Old Age Security (OAS) eligibility

The previous government had implemented legislation to raise the age at which Canadians can begin receiving OAS. It was scheduled to phase-in beginning in 2023. As promised in the platform, this will be cancelled.

This article provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore, no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this bulletin can be accepted by Steve Bennett or H&R Block Canada, Inc.

Budget points to zero per cent increase, mayor questions increases from 2014

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 @ 12:03 PM
posted by admin

BY AMY HOGUE

Council appears to be holding firm to a zero per cent tax increase for 2015, although staff are waiting for final numbers that will complete the budget.

Deputy treasurer, Janet Koziel, presented council with an overview of the draft budget at a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting on Mar. 9, presenting it to council as “a balanced budget.”

This fourth draft of the budget saw a number of changes to the operational budget, among which included revisions to the Community Donations budget line that saw a reduction of $27,200; the combination of the chief building official position and bylaw enforcement position which should see a reduction of $48,027 in payroll costs; an increase in costs related to the freezing of water main pipes, of $22,413, and a decrease in the Community Improvement Program of $50,000.

Koziel also pointed to a year-end surplus from 2014 that was “delightfully larger than anticipated” at $141,000. The overall impact of the changes means a total decrease of the operational budget of $50,837, and a decrease of $683,000 in capital expenses which were either deferred or reduced.

Koziel explained the fly in the ointment could come with the County Reconciliation, which is expected to come in at $100,000, but noted that number could fluctuate. Staff are also waiting for numbers from the province, which could impact the final totals for the 2015 budget. If a grant application of $475,000 to the Build Canada Fund is denied, this could also impact the final numbers, leaving council to search for creative ways to make up the difference.

Councillor Jay Brennan thanked staff for their efforts in maintaining the requested zero per cent increase, while Mayor Shawn Pankow questioned the additional expenses the town will face due to the freezing water mains, asking, “are we leaving ourselves pretty tight?”

CAO Malcolm Morris recommended that without final numbers that could impact the budget, council should not give the budget first and second reading that evening (Mar. 9), but wait until staff have received all the information needed to finalize the budget. This could mean early April before the budget will officially be approved by council.

“This will give us time to come back with solutions for the $60,000,” Morris told council, referring to the additional costs the town is facing due to the freezing pipes issue.

Pankow questioned the increases in the 2015 operational budget over the 2014 budget amounts.

“Before we set the budget, I’d like more insight into what’s contributing to these increases,” Pankow said, noting that although there could be real reasons for the increases from 2014, that “we can’t do that every year.”

Morris pointed out that “the areas where we’re seeing an increase could indicate where we should lend our attention to a service review.”

The budget is set to come back to the committee meeting on Mar. 23.

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Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Carleton Place residents to see property tax increase in 2017

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 @ 12:11 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Jane Hobson
jane@pdgmedia.ca 

Carleton Place Council approved the 2017 budget, including the 2.1 per cent property tax increase. The increase will mean an additional $27.50 per $200,000 home.

Staff are instructed to proceed with the identified projects contained in the 2017 budget, some of which include: a $1.5 million repair to Central Bridge on Bridge St., $1 million in upgrades to the dressing rooms at the Carleton Place Arena, and $160,000 of upgrades to the exterior of Town Hall.

Smiths Falls councillors balk at proposed tax and water hikes in budget

Thursday, November 17, 2016 @ 10:11 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Chris Must
editorial@pdgmedia.ca

The closure of County Fair Mall will probably cost the town of Smiths Falls about $300,000 a year in commercial taxes, town councillor Chris Cummings told colleagues at a special meeting Nov. 16.

Councillors met to review the first draft of the proposed 2017 town budget, and found themselves facing declining revenues and rising costs. The town’s interim treasurer, Janet Koziel, presented an initial budget report recommending a 3.38 per cent tax increase, along with a 7 per cent hike in water rates and an 8 per cent wastewater rate increase.

Key dates

  • Public budget meeting on Nov. 30 at the  Smiths Falls Community Centre
  • Second draft of the budget is to be presented Dec. 12
  • Final budget approval Jan. 23.

Koziel also advised council that Smiths Falls’ share of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, a provincial infrastructure grant, will decrease by $43,500 next year.

Noting that the combined tax and water rate hikes would add an additional $204 a year to an average assessment in town, Councillor Jay Brennan said, “I think that’s onerous on the taxpayer.”

Brennan said it will be impossible for the town to spend sufficiently on capital projects in the future without significant federal and provincial grants. It is up to council, he said, to “show a little discretion and recognition of the difficulty that people are having in living.”

“The number one comment I get around town is our taxes are too high,” said Councillor Joe Gallipeau, adding that high residential and commercial taxes may be driving away both new residents and businesses.

Acknowledging that town staff had prepared the budget in a clear and understandable manner, Cummings said it was obvious that unless taxes increase, services will have to be reduced.

Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris said the first draft of the budget presents a “worst-case scenario” because the town has applied for grants and won’t hear if the applications were successful until the end of the year. “We don’t have all the answers,” he said.

Morris said ongoing service reviews by town staff will identify further areas for cost savings.

The draft budget includes a list of capital priorities submitted by the heads of each department, ranging from $40,000 to replace video recording equipment in police cruisers to $137,000 for donations to eligible community groups. Some new items in the 2017 budget include funding for a new water and ice rescue service for the fire department, and $48,000 for the town’s share of funding for Canada 150th events next year. Substantial investment in upgrades to roads and water treatment facilities are also planned.

Council plans to hold a public meeting on the budget at the Smiths Falls Community Centre on Nov. 30. The second draft of the budget is to be presented Dec. 12, and the schedule calls for final approval Jan. 23.

In discussion at the Nov. 16 meeting, councillors agreed that an additional meeting should be scheduled to discuss the input received at the public meeting. Staff also suggested that the need to identify cost savings in order to reduce the need for tax increases might make it necessary to delay passage of the budget.

 

Photo by Chris Must: Interim Treasurer Janet Koziel presented her report on the first draft of Smiths Falls’ 2017 budget at a special meeting Nov. 16.

Carleton Place 2017 draft budget presented to public

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 @ 01:11 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Jane Hobson
jane@pdgmedia.ca

During a public meeting held last night (Nov.15) at Carleton Place Town Hall, Carleton Place Treasurer Phil Hogan presented the final draft of the Town of Carleton Place 2017 budget.

As part of the 2017 budget, the Corporate Services Committee of Council (the committee that drafts the budget) is recommending a 2.1 per cent municipal tax increase in Carleton Place in 2017. This increase means the average dollar change for a $200,000 home will be $27.50.

During his presentation, Hogan said in 2016 the residential tax rate comparison between the City of Ottawa and Carleton Place only differed by $50. Ottawa residents paid $1,159 in residential taxes per $100,000 of assessment and residents in Carleton Place paid $1,209 residential taxes per $100,000 of assessment.

Some of the other budget items included:

  • $1.5 million repair to Central Bridge on Bridge Street;
  • $1 million of upgrades to the dressing rooms at the Carleton Place Arena; and
  • $160,000 of upgrades to the outside of Town Hall.

The 2017 budget allocated $30.8 million for municipal operations and capital in 2017.

Now that the budget has been presented to the public, it will be presented to council again for approval.

Smiths Falls council to seek advice on 2017 budget

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 @ 09:10 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Chris Must
editorial@pdgmedia.ca

Smiths Falls Town Councillor Jay Brennan is urging colleagues to encourage public input into the town’s 2017 budget.

At an Oct. 11 meeting of council’s Committee of the Whole, Brennan said that it was important “to reach out and talk to people and get their opinions” during the budget process.

While noting that public meetings in town are often poorly attended, other councillors agreed that ways to encourage input, such as surveys, should be considered.

Councillors agreed to direct staff to research the ways that other municipalities encourage residents to participate in the budget process, and to prepare recommendations.

Smiths Falls on track for a budget surplus

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 @ 11:07 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts
heddy@pdgmedia.ca

The interim report on the town’s 2016 expenditures to date suggest there could be a modest surplus this year.

“Please find attached a copy of the 2016 Budget Departmental Summary showing a projected surplus of $85,461 for the fiscal period ending June 30,” wrote Janet Koziel, Smiths Falls interim treasurer in a report submitted to council.

The full report with a summary outlining the variances is available on the town’s website.

Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 12:04 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

The regular Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 25 and the final draft budget was a topic on the table. Even though the budget recommends a tax increase there was general agreement among council that this year’s increase was necessary to get the town back on track with capital projects that have been long deferred.

The town’s total budget as presented in the draft, shows operational expenditures of $22,947,807, revenues of $24,673,576 and a transfer to reserve of $1,726,769.

Tax increases

A four percent tax hike has been approved by the committee of the whole. The jump reflects a 0.5 percent increase in town taxes (formerly known as the mill rate) plus the 3.5 percent phased in assessment increase. The town portion of that increase (0.5 percent) will cost the average household that is assessed at $163,000 in 2016 an additional $12.90 per year. While the 3.5 percent MPAC assessment increase will add another $77.46 annually.

The tax increase will allow the town to transfer 1.7 million into reserves towards capital projects. “This budget reflects a departure from the way we did things before,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris. “We’re directing monies into reserves because it’s clear we have an infrastructure backlog, and the only way to deal with it is to put money away to apply to it.”

While council members were in agreement there was some discomfort around the horseshoe.

“I have some concerns about affordability of these increases,” said Jay Brennan, councillor. “Do we need to put 1.7 million into reserve all in one year?” asked Joe Gallipeau, councillor.

“So much work has been deferred this far that we’re going to have to catch up. What has to be done now is the most critical work,” said Shawn Pankow, mayor.

Water rate increase
Also starting June 2016 water users in town will see a 7.9 percent increase in their water/wastewater rates, which means an additional $14.46 per bi-monthly billing on average annual consumption of 200 cubic meters.

“If our goal was for cost recovery for the just the water and wastewater plants, we would be there now, but our goal is total cost recovery including delivery and collection, and we’re not there yet,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The town has also started to migrate stormwater costs out of water rates as recommended by the Asset Management Plan consultants.

Budget savings
As directed by council, staff managed to slash nearly $700,000 from the town’s operational budget, a drop of 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The police budget also came lower again this year, with a surplus of $193,000 from 2015. Overall policing now costs the town 30 percent of total budget down from nearly 40 percent in previous years.

“In this fiscal environment, we are doing our part in being sustainable,” said Bob Dowdall, chief of Smiths Falls Police.

The town’s budget report is available online at the town’s website under council minutes and agendas.
The budget will now come forward for first reading at the regular council meeting on May 2nd.

Photo: Presenting the final draft budget to council, CAO Malcolm Morris pointed out that staff had managed to cut nearly $700,000 from the operational budget, through a series of small reductions that added up.

Bennett: What the federal budget means for you

Sunday, April 24, 2016 @ 08:04 AM
posted by admin

Submitted by Steve Bennett of H&R Block

With a majority government, it’s no surprise that the new Liberal government is rolling out many of the expected changes that they promised during the long election campaign. There are many changes and updates in the budget, so let’s take a look at some of the biggest.

Elimination of the Family Tax Cut

This is officially the last year of the Family Tax Cut. This income-splitting measure will have lasted for only two years and was eliminated in favour of the previously announced income tax rate reduction from 22% to 20.5% for the second federal tax bracket.

Elimination of the Children’s Fitness and Arts Credits

These credits will be phased out over the next two years. In 2016, the fitness tax credit and arts credit will be reduced by 50% to $500 and $250, respectively. In 2017, the two credits will be eliminated altogether.

Introduction of the Canada Child Benefit

One of the key planks of the Liberal platform was the restructuring of benefits for families. As promised, the government has eliminated the Universal Child Care Benefit and Canada Child Tax Benefit, replacing them with the new Canada Child Benefit.

The Canada Child Benefit will be based on family net income and will be completely non-taxable. The maximum benefit is $533.33 per month for children under six, and $450 per month for children ages six to 17.

Families with net income below $30,000 will receive the full benefit, while families who earn more will be subject to different phase-out rates based on their income and number of children. With the Canada Child Benefit, the vast majority of families should see enhanced benefits.

Teacher and Early Educator School Supply Tax Credit

This 15% refundable tax credit will allow eligible educators to claim up to $1,000 of teachers’ supplies. Examples of eligible expenses include art supplies, stationery items and materials for science experiments. Teachers will qualify if they hold a teacher’s certificate valid in the province or territory they are employed. Early childhood educators will qualify as long as they hold a certificate or diploma in early childhood education.

Elimination of the Education and Textbook Amounts

For the 2017 tax year, the federal education and textbook amounts will be eliminated, though the credit for tuition will remain in effect. Revenue gained from this credit elimination will be used to enhance the Canada Student Grant Program.

Any unused education and textbook credit carry-forward from prior years will remain available to use in 2017 and subsequent years.

Cancellation of the age increase for Old Age Security (OAS) eligibility

The previous government had implemented legislation to raise the age at which Canadians can begin receiving OAS. It was scheduled to phase-in beginning in 2023. As promised in the platform, this will be cancelled.

This article provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore, no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this bulletin can be accepted by Steve Bennett or H&R Block Canada, Inc.

Budget points to zero per cent increase, mayor questions increases from 2014

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 @ 12:03 PM
posted by admin

BY AMY HOGUE

Council appears to be holding firm to a zero per cent tax increase for 2015, although staff are waiting for final numbers that will complete the budget.

Deputy treasurer, Janet Koziel, presented council with an overview of the draft budget at a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting on Mar. 9, presenting it to council as “a balanced budget.”

This fourth draft of the budget saw a number of changes to the operational budget, among which included revisions to the Community Donations budget line that saw a reduction of $27,200; the combination of the chief building official position and bylaw enforcement position which should see a reduction of $48,027 in payroll costs; an increase in costs related to the freezing of water main pipes, of $22,413, and a decrease in the Community Improvement Program of $50,000.

Koziel also pointed to a year-end surplus from 2014 that was “delightfully larger than anticipated” at $141,000. The overall impact of the changes means a total decrease of the operational budget of $50,837, and a decrease of $683,000 in capital expenses which were either deferred or reduced.

Koziel explained the fly in the ointment could come with the County Reconciliation, which is expected to come in at $100,000, but noted that number could fluctuate. Staff are also waiting for numbers from the province, which could impact the final totals for the 2015 budget. If a grant application of $475,000 to the Build Canada Fund is denied, this could also impact the final numbers, leaving council to search for creative ways to make up the difference.

Councillor Jay Brennan thanked staff for their efforts in maintaining the requested zero per cent increase, while Mayor Shawn Pankow questioned the additional expenses the town will face due to the freezing water mains, asking, “are we leaving ourselves pretty tight?”

CAO Malcolm Morris recommended that without final numbers that could impact the budget, council should not give the budget first and second reading that evening (Mar. 9), but wait until staff have received all the information needed to finalize the budget. This could mean early April before the budget will officially be approved by council.

“This will give us time to come back with solutions for the $60,000,” Morris told council, referring to the additional costs the town is facing due to the freezing pipes issue.

Pankow questioned the increases in the 2015 operational budget over the 2014 budget amounts.

“Before we set the budget, I’d like more insight into what’s contributing to these increases,” Pankow said, noting that although there could be real reasons for the increases from 2014, that “we can’t do that every year.”

Morris pointed out that “the areas where we’re seeing an increase could indicate where we should lend our attention to a service review.”

The budget is set to come back to the committee meeting on Mar. 23.

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