Well the 2018 Budget for the Town of Orangeville officially passed on Monday night with a vote of 4-3. Councillors Wilson, Bradley and Campbell along with Deputy Mayor Maycock voted in support of the *almost* 4% increase (including growth assessment) while Councillors Kidd and Garisto along with Mayor Williams voted against.
“There are some items in the budget that I feel are premature. In particular the full-time firemen. I think we have a very adequate service now. If this item fails and the underlying bylaw also fails, I would certainly move a motion to have 8 new full-time firefighters hired, but that the timing be moved forward to when the new fire station is estimated to be built. To me, it makes more sense to have that in place before we hire additional staff.” Mayor Williams used as his reasonings for why he would not be supporting the budget.
Councillor Kidd stated that he would not support this budget highlighting that at the last budget meeting, he had brought forward 8 items which could have lowered the budget by somewhere between $450,000 and $500,000. Councillor Garisto echoed that statement stating that he too brought forward $800,000 in potential savings that didn’t garner any support from the majority of Council. Councillor Garisto and Kidd also stated that the 4% from Orangeville plus the 2% from the County equals close to a 6% increase which is far too much of a burden – and that’s not including the education portion or the actual assessment numbers.
Councillor Bradley wanted to set the record straight that the actual increase is not simply adding the Town, County and Education portions together as was implied by Councillors Kidd and Garisto. She asked the Treasurer to clarify the math. He explained that each of the 3 portions are weighted differently and are blended based on Town borders, County borders and Provincial borders. “Typically in a budget like this, we would actually see the overall impact be lower than the Town of Orangeville’s and that is twofold – One is our assessment values are lower than some of the overall in the County as well as the education, there are some areas in the province that are growing at much faster rates which end up taking on more of the increase than we see here.” Mr. Villeneuve explained. Councillor Bradley again expressed that she wants to make sure that they aren’t fear mongering by telling people that it will be a 6 or 7% increase while in actuality it will be somewhere closer to 3%.
What do you think?
This is the moment of the budget where I would really like to hear from you. How are you feeling about this year’s budget? What items would YOU choose to remove? I’d love to hear any and all of your input!
Here are my humble opinions: I am frustrated that the Fire Master Plan Recommendations weren’t taken more seriously almost 3 years ago when they were first presented to this council. It was made VERY clear that a 24-hour Fire Dept was necessary to correct the response times. Had ANY members taken it seriously when it was presented, there could have been budgeting done to help to offset the huge cost of this service. Instead, here we are with a substantial increase as a result of poor planning. I am NOT happy to see such a significant increase in taxes again especially when I feel that with some forethought, all of this could have and should have been avoided. I am tired of seeing money going down the drain to pay for consultants to give Expert Recommendations only to have Council simply “receive” the report and fail to act on the recommendations. (Another example of this is the Recreation Study that recommended closing Tony Rose Pool 3 years ago – that report was “received” as well with no recommendations being adopted…)