2012-10-30 at 01:49
Council gets peek at how 2012 budget is shaping up
(Left) Iain Angus and (right) Trevor Giertuga.
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Trevor Giertuga says council threw city manager Tim Commisso under the bus when they changed their minds to keep Municipal Golf Course and the Centennial Botanical Conservatory open.
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The McIntyre councillor voiced his frustrations about recent decisions made by council at Monday night’s meeting. Administration had requested city council adopted in principle a multiyear budget preparation target for the city’s tax supported budget for the fiscal years of 2013 through 2015.
Council had directed administration to find a way to reduce and cut services through the Core Business Review. Administration hoped to find savings of $500,000.
But Giertuga argued it’s difficult to give administration direction when council continues to change its mind on issues such as the closing Municipal and the conservatory.
“I’ve been really frustrated,” Giertuga said. “We tasked the city manager in finding efficiencies in our city budget. When he found some savings, we threw him under the bus. It makes him look badly. We have to decide if we want to find efficiencies in services or we just going through the motions. I’m getting frustrated and I’m sure administration is getting frustrated too.”
Council has repeatedly been given opportunities to make simple decisions in order to save money but instead chose not to, he said.
Council ultimately voted in favour of administration continuing with the Core Business Review.
At-Large Coun. Iain Angus said it wasn’t about throwing Commisso under the bus. In the report given to council, Angus pointed out that there were other saving options besides the closure of the golf course and conservatory.
“The reality colleagues is just like the budget, administration comes forward with their proposals for where dollars have to be spent or in this case where there are opportunities to save money,” Angus said. “The end of the line is here at this table. We make those decisions on behalf of the citizens.”
Commisso said the city is currently doing a number of initiatives in order to find savings including the City Lean and the Core Business Review.
This year there will be change in assessments and that will make it difficult to find out how the average person will be affected by those changes in terms of taxes, he said.
“Homes have gone up in value over the last four years and there will be a shifting between residential neighbourhoods and between classes,” Commisso said. “Even if we come out with an average or a number it’s only going to be that. Numbers based on the average impact we’re at about a little less than two per cent.”
The latest variance report was also presented. The total overages sit at nearly $1.7-million but that is offset by roughly $850,000 in savings that have been found in other departments. The report does not include any costs related to the flood disaster.
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