I haven’t been browsing through the Town’s website for a while so the new (to me) web format was a surprise. It is organized as a straight-forward directory to easily locate basic town departments or services such as recreation programs or business-related information.
Although visitors are invited to download the proposed budget document, I’m not sure many people would have. The proposed tax increases stem in part from an earlier (Draft) Long Range Financial Plan prepared by Hemson Consulting in February 2016. Council subsequently approved a Multi-Year Budgeting Policy in May 2016.
A discussion of the “draws, contributions and balances” of the Capital Reserves “shows that … in key periods, from 2019 to 2022 and 2026 to 2027, Capital Reserves will be insufficient to fund capital needs …”“That said, from the late 2020s to the end of the forecast period contributions to Capital Reserves increasingly exceed draws. This is primarily the result of the compounding effect of the 1% capital levy over time that results in the levy revenue increasing from $2.9 million in 2015 to $18.7 million in 2034.”
“… in key periods during the early and mid 2020s the Town’s tax funded capital reserves will be insufficient to fund major capital expenditures such as the rehabilitation of the Lefroy and Stroud Arenas and a number of Road reconstruction projects.”
Further analysis in the Long Range Financial Plan “shows that the Town’s operating expenditures to be funded from the property tax levy are forecast to increase from $33.5 million in 2015 to $76.9 million by 2034. Assuming current tax rates remain constant, taxes generated would increase from $33.5 million in 2015 to $60.7 million in 2034. Maintaining current tax rates over the next twenty years in the financial model allows a “funding gap” to be identified. The funding gap widens steadily over the period before reaching $16.2 million by 2034.”
To budget for this funding gap, “Overall an average annual tax increase of about 1.20% is forecast. [Budget proposes 2.44% increase] On an average house assessed at $311,000 [Budget average assessment = $381,000] this would mean an average annual tax increase of $25.80. [Budget proposes >$100] It is worth repeating here that these changes do not incorporate the effects of inflation on either costs or revenues over the forecast period.”
- The Hemson report recommended, “establishing a multi-year operating budget and property tax rate strategy with the possible implementation of a two year operating and property tax rate approval, subject to annual confirmation.”
The current draft budget proposes an average $104 residential tax increase in 2017, of which $46 is a Capital Levy. Another $107 is proposed in 2018 with $48 of that being a Capital Levy. With an estimated 12,000 households in Innisfil, this would increase the Town’s total tax revenue by $1,246,000 in 2017 and $1,284,000 in 2018.
The anticipated final budget approval is Wednesday, December 14, 2016.