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Wednesday November 26 2014
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2014-06-23 at 15:13

COUNCIL PREVIEW: Councillors take a look at the books, examine budget shortfalls

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By tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY – Efforts are continuing towards balancing the city’s annual budget.

City council will hear a report at the Monday meeting that will detail the progress that has been made in trying to get the books back in the black.

The “best estimate” prepared by city administration forecasts a year-end shortfall of between $3.5 million and $4.3 million, which approaches two per cent of the net budget.

However, administration estimates the shortfall would be between $6.4 million and $7.2 million if restraint and reduction measures had not been implemented earlier this year. The report also says an additional $385,000 in savings was found.

Costs from the long, harsh winter continue to be blamed for the variance but higher than expected legal fees, as well as early leave and retirement costs also listed as contributing factors.

Strategies will be introduced for future budgets over the next three years to address those rising costs.

Also on the agenda, council will be asked to vote on awarding a $3.2 million contract to complete the first phase of the waterfront capital works. The project would see improvements to the Waterfront Streetscape and Market Square at Prince Arthur’s Landing.

Officials from Shelter House will be providing the final report from their SOS Cold Weather Plan pilot project, along with their annual business plan.


 


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Comments

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YellowSnow13 says:
Maybe it's time to put some of the projects on hold for a year so we can get out of debt?
6/23/2014 3:33:41 PM
Eastender says:
Champagne tastes, on a beer budget.
Hobbs and his cronies will be drinking champagne in the Ice Palace by the lake, while you huddle near your space heater in your basement apartment, drinking beer!
6/24/2014 8:51:01 AM
signman says:
The city has its priorities all wrong.

Too much money being wasted on the Waterfront.

It was just fine the way it was. Selling the nicest portion off to a private developer has been nothing but a disaster for local taxpayers. Approving another 3.2 million to complete the first phase of the Waterfront capital works is no way to balance the budget.

No wonder the city is stapped according to the Mayor and no wonder the Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the city's excessive spending and unaffordable tax rates.

The city and infrastructure is crumbling around us but when it comes to the Waterfront money appears to be no object.

THE TAXPAYERS MONEY!
6/23/2014 3:48:58 PM
timeforchange says:
What higher than expected legal fees--- did they underestimate or are getting sued beyond the $150 million currently on the books

Early leave--- what was the surprise here

Is there no one that cares that we keep spending beyond our means?
6/23/2014 4:22:10 PM
pub27 says:
Just one question regarding the snow budget, where is all the surplus monies from the not so "harsh" winters of the past?
6/23/2014 4:45:35 PM
tsb says:
Reserve funds (savings account, basically). Instead of paying the debt off with our savings, we're paying it off the old fashioned way.

I prefer to pay off all my debts with my savings so that I don't have any debts long-term but I am sure some financial planner will explain why that's a bad idea...
6/23/2014 8:55:22 PM
hardwood floors says:
put more money into fixing the roads, please....it`s embarrassing that tourists/visitors have to drive our chicken trails
6/23/2014 6:06:15 PM
tiredofit says:
Why is it we continue to pour more and more cash into the waterfront? Let's take a break, it's fine as is. When we can afford it, let's spend some money on it. What's rush? Is it to please the potential new condo owners? if so, let the developer share in the cost, given the deal he got on the property, I think he should.

As for the mistake by the lake, can we please stop spending money on what if reports and lawyer fees!! Enough already. It's been proven time and time again the Ipso Reid (spelling?) can be way off on their results. I took part in the survey and based on the questions, they can be spun any way you want them too.

But what do we know right? The city manager is supposed to be some kind of whiz kid, that's why we hired him... I say start electing them... then they will really have to answer for their decisions every 4 years.
6/23/2014 6:37:46 PM
blah blah says:
signman the marina the way it was, to not sugar coat it, sucked. It is now a place that more then not go and enjoy. Im down there 2 to 3 times a week now and its just getting better and better. Money well spent.
6/23/2014 7:06:22 PM
Commonsense says:
@time for change-
Where do you get the figure you mention regarding city being sued for $150M?
Is this available on city website, or are you referring to claims not yet settled, regarding flooding?

To agree with you, yes, many are concerned about the city spending beyond our means, but our concerns fall on deaf ears.

Tonight's agenda is an example of that spending.

Already this year, we're facing a deficit of a minimum of $3.5M.
Yet, tonight, council will undoubtedly approve about that amount for additional waterfront spending!,

Then Admin will turn around and find other, more needed projects and services to cut to make up that deficit!!

they will also approve tonight, the recommendation to NOT put money into some reserves, and spend less in other areas.

Anything to keep funding the waterfront!!

And just wait, the event centre project will be the next black hole for taxpayer dollars!
6/23/2014 8:33:48 PM
Tiredofit says:
The $150m is probably based on the those who were affected by last years flood. Plus there are other individual lawsuits filed as well.
6/24/2014 6:20:12 AM
Westfortforever says:
Why is it when councils pet projects come looking for money, they open the taxpayers pockets and say how much, no problem the taxpayers can afford it. We need some people on council who know how hard it is to earn a dollar.
6/23/2014 9:50:11 PM
Jack Frost says:
The city "acts" like this was their first ever winter.

Winters are COLD and winters bring lots of SNOW !!

GROW UP and BEHAVE like responsible adults !!!

6/23/2014 10:26:25 PM
Meta says:
Another 3. 2 million for the marina? We were told this was complete and on budget remember?

Over budget , overspend, mismanaged! And this City wants to build a no event centre!,! lLOL! Try spending your allowance responsibly first. It's the snow! Try the sister city trips, excessive staff, bike lane fiasco, glad handing and money to every charity that shows up at council, loans to businesses Regen and others, and the list continues!
6/24/2014 6:35:30 AM
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