With very little debate on the matter, Council opted for
placing $1.5 million in the capital reserves envelope to fund future road
work. This will thus be turned into $4.5 million once the funding is
received from the other two levels of government.
The other $1.5 million will be used to reduce the tax increase by 1%,
dropping it from 5.2% to 4.2%. This means that the average home owner will
receive a savings of $18 to $27 for the year.
COUNCIL IS PLAYING POLITICS INSTEAD OF RUNNING A BUSINESS
The additional $3.6 million was an unexpected gain in provincial
funding. It may not be there next year. Therefore, all Council has done is
defer raising taxes until the spring of 2007, when a new Council will be
in place. That new Council will then have to raise the taxes to recover
the one-time reduction, and still likely be faced with additional
increases to fund projects like road improvement - a road improvement
budget that could have been increased by an additional $4.5 million if
Council had put the entire $3 million into the infrastructure funding
This means that Council merely gave home owners the $18 to hold on to
for a year. Next year it will want it back and then some.
Council could have, and should have used the money to earn an
additional $3 million for road improvements. This is money that will
eventually have to be paid by taxpayers anyway if we are going to see
improvements in the condition of our roads. The road situation is the top
priority among the vast majority of ratepayers, and yet the Council choose
to turn away $3 million in money that was there for the taking.
THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO RUN A BUSINESS
Council is the Board of Directors of the Corporation of the City of
If Council had invested the $1.5 million it used to reduce taxes
(a temporary reduction for one year only since it will be taken back next
spring), Council could have turned the money into an additional reserve of
$4.5 million for road repairs.
This means that Council was faced with the opportunity to take the
entire $3 million and turn it into $9 million for road repairs and do a
lot of good for the community.
Instead, Council turned it into $4.5 million for road repairs and gave
$1.5 million back to the taxpayers to send them the message that
"Council is sympathetic to their desire to reduce taxes". The
cost to our city of allowing Council to "feel good about
themselves" and "pat themselves on the back" is $3 million.
That is some pat on the back.
NOT A GOOD SIGN FOR WARD 6 - HANMER & VAL THERESE
Furthermore, the $4.5 million that is now in the new infrastructure
funding program is coincidentally the amount of money Council will be
looking for to finish off the funding for the Rock Tunnel Sewer Project.
That decision on that will be forthcoming in May 2006. Now that there is
an additional $4.5 million in the reserves, there may not be a need to
force developers to pay for the shortfall. The money can be taken out of
Decisions like this are an indication that the Corporation is not being
run like a business.
And yet, it is a business.
Decisions must be based on what will be good for the long-term future
of the City of Greater Sudbury. We cannot afford to throw away $3 million.
I am not counting the $1.5 million that was given back to the taxpayers,
however, rest assured that you will have to pay it back, so I wouldn't be
in too much of a hurry to spend it.