Financially Fit Part 1
I’m doing a few posts on this, lots to talk about. I hear a lot about Financially Fit and how well the City is doing, after all they discovered over $14 million in savings/efficiencies!
When I hear things like they found over $14 million in savings, my first thought is
“They’ve been overspending by that much all these years?”
Current council boasts they’ve held tax increases to zero, making people think they kept costs down. Wednesday night I spent 5 hours watching 2 council meetings from 2018. The subject was increasing revenue by raising taxes or introducing the Municipal Consent and Access Fee (MCAF) on utility bills in the proposed 4 year budget. A tax increase was rejected.
After a lively discussion MCAF didn’t pass the first meeting, it was tabled. The next meeting it passed 8-1. Our mayor voted no, thinking we should raise revenue only by expanding our tax base by increasing sales of our electricity and bringing in new industries to pay taxes; he was gambling heavily on Hut 8 and Aurora. Hut 8 is here; Aurora is a bust. It’ll be years before we break even on that.
MCAF was passed at the second meeting, it started in 2019. (I paid $6.41 on my August bill, how much did you pay?)
Obviously we needed more income, it had to come from somewhere. I don’t like the way they tried to spin it. Call it a fee or a tax, it’s the same thing.
I find it disturbing they put forth an either/or situation all the time, either we cut services or we raise taxes. There are other options to consider, nothing is ever one or the other.
City Hall must communicate that we are in financial trouble and our taxes have been kept artificially low for 100 years. They boast about keeping taxes low instead of doing the responsible thing and increasing them gradually. They must be realistic with residents and tell them property taxes will inevitably rise. Yes, people will be angry but I see the job of council to make the hard, the unpopular decisions for the good of the City.
We have to stop crossing our fingers.
That’s Financially Fit.