Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Budget… what’s worth it?

Posted by elizabethbishenden on November 6, 2009

The old saying goes “nothing’s sure but death and taxes”…

Soon Aurora Town Council will be looking at the Town’s budget…  and the residents will be looking at their tax bills.  It’s the time of year when we all start defending the programs we love and asking questions about the ones we’re not so crazy about.

Here are some questions going out to readers of this blog:

  • Where are tax dollars being spent well in Aurora? 
  • What seems like an utter waste of tax money to you?  
  • What would you like to see your taxes paying for that the town doesn’t already provide?
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10 Responses to “Budget… what’s worth it?”

  1. Penny Wise said

    Here’s an article about Orangeville’s budget deliberations which favourably references Aurora’s past practices re: reserves (thus bolstering Evelyn Buck’s and Grace Marsh’s points-of-view):

    http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009/1126/front_page/005.html

  2. Anonymous said

    When my companies set an annual budget they have to build it from the ground up each year. None of this slap a percentage on the last year’s budget. And Director’s got a performance bonus for achieving more with less.
    The last budget process in the town was long and arduous for staff because of the micro-managing of the Mayor. She can truly be held accountable for each and every penny spent as a result.

  3. Anonymous said

    We could save a lot of money by getting the mayor and her loyal followers to stop the in fighting and lawsuits. The legal bills of app. $280,000.00 which will be more by year end will represent about a 1% tax increase. Her patronage appointment of Ken Whitehurst and his more than $100,000.00 salary was also a waste but at least it was a job for a friend and campaign worker.
    The council could also start by selling or renting the town owned empty buildings.
    They could also look at internal spending and where they could cut back on any wasteage.

  4. White Knight said

    … and as a somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion would like to see training for all those drivers (and believe me there are many) who have no idea what to do or what the rules are when negotiating a traffic circle. I have observed and had more “near misses” than I care to count.

  5. White Knight said

    I think that some serious money spent on the dreadful roads that weave through Aurora would be money well spent. My car creaks and groans through town as it crunches over cracks, crevices and potholes. Please note though that I do not support any more of these traffic calming projects in neighbourhoods that in my opinion seem to get preferential treatment already.

  6. Anonymous said

    Evelina was absent from the council meeting tonight….could it have been because her pal Walter was a delegation contesting his bid failure? The Director of Finance was not pleased by the delegation, nor was the CAO.
    And Mayor Morris was definitely squirming.
    Chickens coming home to roost? How many more supporters and pals will come to council with the expectation of special attention?

  7. Nigel Kean said

    Zero percent increases are nothing more than an election ploy to confuse certain voters that the council of the day has done a good job.I have always maintained that if a tax increase is needed, then it should be passed on after all neccesary cuts are made. You cannot continue to use reserves, as they are important for maintaining the future of any town or city in case of an unforseen emergency. The infrastruture in Aurora, like most towns, is getting older and the chance of a problem arising is getting greater each year.That was one of the main reasons that Aurora Hydro was sold.There was a concern that the Town would not be able to handle the cost of any major problem.
    I still believe that all levels of government waste tax dollars one way or another.Aurora is no different and there needs to be a concentrated effort made by staff and council to review all expenditures and efforts made to correct the issues of waste.
    Past councils have worked towards improving the lives of residents by adding a new senior’s centre, a new library, another sports centre, more parks and trails plus many other tangible items. This did come at a cost, but the venues were and are needed to maintain a level of resident satisfaction. These facilities are used to the fullest today and will continue to be used in the future.
    As I said at the beginning, zero increase budgets are nothing more than a vote getter. Every year the costs in the town go up for the same reasons that the cost at your home goes up. We can always try to cut back at home, as should the town, but not at the expense of Aurora’s future growth.

  8. Robert the Bruce said

    I wonder too if we are still feeling the pain for those years when previous councils (with some of the current members) voted in favour zero budget increaes. It was nice at the time, but the opportunity to bank away some funds for a rainy day is also a good thing.

    It’s a good lesson going into an election year that perhaps some of the “experienced” candidates may not have been acting on the town’s best interests.

    Fuimus

  9. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    That’s an interesting question… are we willing to pay for the services we want and use? Or are we willing to stop using some services? Is there a willingness to move from funding from the tax base to user fees?

    One area in which I see a lot of confusing activity is Leisure Services. It makes a lot of sense for the Town to be providing large facilities like meeting rooms, pools, green spaces, and arenas. However, when it comes to using those facilities , it is confusing. In many instances (particularly adult fitness activities but also some activities aimed at young people like the hosting of birthday parties) the Town is in direct competition with private businesses. Both the public and private groups provide good service. Does it benefit the Town to be competing with private companies?

    I’m not saying Leisure Services doesn’t provide a great service. It does. It just happens to often replicate the service offered by private companies.

    So I’m asking the philosophical question of whether or not that’s okay with Aurorans.

  10. Richard Johnson said

    A letter appeared on page seven in the Auroran dated November 3rd, 2009 by Paul Jacobs, QC, which effectively outlined the impact of our combined taxes from all levels of government and as incredible as this may sound, we may soon be only keeping between 10 and 25 per cent of our gross income (depending on your total income) after all taxes and municipal charges have been paid, but unfortunately before we pay for insurance or bank charges.

    When governments of any stripe continue to celebrate tax increases that are above the inflation rate and the CPI index because the tax increases are less than previous annual increases we have been subjected to over the years, you know that it won’t be long before we all hit the financial wall.

    The fact that health care and pension related costs are also set to skyrocket along with overall government debt, and given that the Town of Aurora is not even sure how it is going to maintain its infrastructure maintenance costs going forward, one has to wonder how serious the financial crisis around the next corner will be, but you can be sure that we are headed for trouble if we continue on a “business as usual” path.

    Auroran website LINK: http://www.auroran.com/?page=current_edition

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