Special Council Meeting for budget 2020

Here are my conclusions from the Nov 21 special council meeting on the budget. My full notes can be viewed here.

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My feeling is  that we have not been adequately budgeting for depreciation.  Take a truck for example, when we buy a truck for $30,000 with a life expectancy of 10 years, every year we should set aside at least $3,000 (ignoring inflation) for the eventual replacement of that truck.  The same thing for buildings, water pumps and all capital expenditures. If we do set aside money for depreciation, the result is a sustainable municipal government with minimal big surprises.

 

I suspect the reason our reserves are inadequate is because we do not take deprecation seriously.  The end result is that in one year we will be hit with large capital costs - like replacing our trucks.

 

From what I heard today, in the distant past we have taken money from roads to solve other problems.  I am guessing that back then that resulted in no tax increases. The council of that time made that decision to redirect funds and ended up looking good in that year.

 

Today we are paying the price for that decision.  That price is increased prices to fix the deteriorated roads.  The people who lived through that period of no or low tax increases - what they did was shift the costs to us today.

 

There are a few councillors who seem to be dead set for zero tax increases or even tax cuts.  Don’t they realise that zero tax increases means less services which is just a disguised tax increase.  If we all pay the same tax as last year but get less services - THAT IS AN INCREASE - I pay the same but get less.

 

How can those councillors be sitting at the table hearing about increases in insurance, increases in operating costs due to dramatic increases in salt etc and think that we can just ignore the real world and somehow have zero tax increases?  What those councillors are doing is exercising the same short term thinking that got us into a shortfall position.

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