Misleading budget information
Residents may have received the email from Tom Adams who is the Town’s budget chair.
He is seeking your input into the 2011 budget process. Please note that he refers to a total tax increase of 3.32 per cent. This translates to a 7.6 per cent increase in the Town’s base budget – the total 3.32 per cent is rather misleading.
If the budget chair wants you to understand the impact of the increase he is referring to it would be more appropriate for him to give you some context.
For instance the total tax you pay is a combination of regional, education and Oakville taxes which was 1.61 per cent, in 2010 and was 3.88 per cent in 2009.
On the other hand the Oakville base budget was 9.9 per cent, in 2008 and 7.9 per cent, 2009 so perhaps the 7.6 per cent being proposed is a good story?
This council is continuing to hide the true level of tax increases by expressing the increase as a percentage of the total tax bill. In other words they are taking credit for the negligible increase in the Region's portion and the fact that the education portion is unchanged.
The reductions in the 7.6 per cent increase suggested by staff are regarded as effectively reductions in existing programs and services, which is nonsense.
The reality is that this council has committed itself to so many projects, "paid by development charges", apparently forgetting that there will be operational costs in the future.
I have a few suggestions that might help the budget chair not increase our taxes; how about no more raised medians that are a pedestrian safety hazard, or no more bike lanes that cause cyclists to run themselves into sewer grates, or ineffective speed bumps that cost $100,000 and upwards, or graveled because soccer parents prefer to park on the street?
As for cost cutting: how about Council follow other municipalities' example by not taking wage increases this term, or cutting the self promotional glossy magazine that Council uses quarterly to remind you of how your money is being spent, or stop providing food at Council meetings or how about an across the board 5 per cent cut in the Council and CAO’s budget as a show of good faith?
Seems to me that at a time when tax payers are having to trim household budgets; the very least we should be able to expect from our budget chair is to come up with some solid ways to cut the Town’s costs instead of suggesting that we should cut services to seniors.
So if you haven’t already — have your say.