Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Town proposes fat-free budgets for 2007
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 12 Jan 2007, p. 1, 11

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Town Finance Director Ed DeSousa has told budget committee members that the proposed 2007 budgets contain few "extras". DeSousa said the 2 per cent base budget increase to the operating budget does not include any additional staffing, except what was approved by council in 2006, any additional equipment purchases or any program expansion. DeSousa, gave an overview of the proposed 2007 operating, capital and capital forecast budgets Tuesday night to the committee. He said the proposed increase of 2 per cent in the Town's 2007 operating budget is relatively low compared to other Greater Toronto Area communities and is less than the Consumer Price Index of 2.3 per cent in October 2006. Assessment is projected to grow at 3.6 per cent in 2007-- the second highest in recent years-- generating about $850,000 in additional tax dollars. Last year it grew 4.4 per cent. Staff is recommending a $22.3 million operating budget-- a 5.3 per cent increase over last year's budget. That translates to a $49 increase on property tax bills for the average residential house assessed at $300,000. Combined with Region and education tax hikes, taxpayers are facing a $79 increase. The 5.3 per cent increase includes the 2 per cent base budget increase, 2 per cent ($400,000) dedicated to the pavement management program and 1.3 per cent ($266,700) for the hiring of four full-time firefighters. The 5.3 per cent increase is only proposed at this time, and during the next four nights of budget deliberations that figure could go up or down. Budget committee meets on the evenings of Jan. 15 (public delegation night), 16, 29 and 30, with council approval of the 2007 budget scheduled for February 5. In fact, Town staff has proposed 1 per cent (about $241,000) in extras to be considered by the budget committee. See FEW, pg. 11

Few extras in budget

Continued from pg. 1 Ranked by the department heads for the first time, the wish list includes a finance analyst, hearing impaired interpreters, walkway lighting, roads, parks and stormwater pond maintenance and a Fairy Lake geese population control program. Staff, as requested by the budget committee, also prepared a list of items amounting to 1 per cent reduction ($209,000) that could be sliced from the budget. It includes: · closure of the washrooms at the Georgetown Fairgrounds and Prospect Park Blockhouse (replaced by portable toilets) ($23,000) · closure of Dick Licata Pool for the month of August ($10,900) · reduction in hours for the library's Library-on-Wheels co-ordinator · Thursday evening closures of the library during the summer. (The library is again requesting Monday openings ($68,000) but that has not been approved by the management staff.) · reductions in patching gravel roads in winter, summer and spring ($15,000) · reduction in dust control application on rural roads ($30,000) · reduction in materials to repair ball diamonds, soccer fields and other areas ($6,000) · reductions are also proposed in part-time hours, overtime, office materials and services and professional development.

Gamble, Cynthia
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12 Jan 2007
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DeSousa, Ed
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Halton Hills
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Town proposes fat-free budgets for 2007