It’s that time of year again when Council makes budget preparations for 2014. I try to write a bit about it each year, more for my own education, but you’re welcome to look over my shoulder as I try to answer a few questions …
How Big Is the Budget?
Actually there are 3 parts to the municipal budget. One is the Operating Budget (day-to-day operations) that comes in at about $44 million. The larger portion is the Capital Budget (building and repairing stuff) that will be about $66.5 million in 2014. Heavier borrowing is proposed to cover the cost of more water infrastructure planned over the next 5 years. Water accounts for 65% of capital spending in the 2014 budget.
“Included is $31.1M for the phase 3 expansion of the water treatment plant which will be 100% front-end funded by Bradford West Gwillimbury. The Town’s estimated share of $12M is to be repaid in 2018 to correspond with the timing of when the additional capacity is needed for our growth, subject to agreements …”
Additionally, there is a Water and Waste Water Operating Budget component. It determines household user rates for water and waste water, subject to Council approval. An eventual 50/50 allocation target is proposed for the water user fees – a ‘base’ water rate (regardless of consumption) and the rate based on actual consumption. Seasonal residents will continue to pay the base rate every month regardless of seasonal consumption. Average residential water use (200 cubic metres/year) is expected to cost a household $1,001 in 2014. Overall, the combined property tax and water fees are currently estimated to be equal to about 4.9% of household income in Innisfil.
What Do Our Property Taxes Pay For?
Portions of our property taxes pay for municipal government, Simcoe County operations, Boards of Education, and South Simcoe Police operations. The proposed 2014 South Simcoe Police budget proposes a reduction of $471,800 in spending:
What’s the Average Tax Bill in Innisfil?
The average residential property tax bill in Innisfil this year is $3,252. That is projected to be about $3,345 in 2014. Property tax revenue accounts for almost 2/3 (64%) of the municipal Operating budget. Other sources of operating revenue include OLG Gaming revenue (8.8%); Fees & Charges (8.1%); Permits & Licenses (5.4%); Reserve Funds (4.9%).
How Is the Municipal Portion Spent?
Of the roughly 36% of the property tax bill that goes to Innisfil, how is this money spent?
Why Are Taxes Increasing?
The following are only some of the changes in operating requirements noted in the 2014 Budget Summary:
- Annualized cost of new staff in 2013… $582,000
- Labour rate increases (union & non-union)… $225,000
- Increase in purchased services (ex. snow ploughing) … $200,000
- Salary step increases … $188,000
- Increased overtime: student/non-permanent staff … $100,000
These and other expense increases are partially offset by a higher “recovery” of Planning, Engineering and Legal services … $688,000
What Capital Projects Are Proposed for 2014?
- Lakeshore Water Treatment Plant, Phase 3 expansion, $31 million, financed by the Town of Bradford-West Gwillimbury
- new Operations Centre, $7.5 million
- Churchill reservoir & booster station, $4.6 million
- Salt Management Facility, $3.1 million
- Lefroy lakeshore watermain extension, $2.9 million
- Cookstown firehall, $2.8 million
- Road rehabilitation program, $2 million
- Belle Aire Beach Road sanitary sewer, $1.6 million
- Innisfil Heights watermain replacement, $1.6 million
Innisfil residents are welcome to provide their comments on the budget by:
- Emailing your budget comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Completing a comment card and dropping it off at Town Hall