LAKE OF BAYS – When some members of Lake of Bays council learned the suggested 2013 budget guideline was starting at a 3.5 per cent increase, they were a little “surprised.”
“I don’t want to be starting there,” said Coun. Nancy Tapley. “I would like to see it a lot lower.”
Mayor Bob Young said the township has certain fixed costs it has to meet next year, such as the fire budget and commitments the township has already agreed to, but he questioned if beyond those commitments the target could be at the level of inflation, which is currently 0.7 per cent.
“I don’t know if that’s a workable solution, but I’d like to table it at least as a thought,” he said during the Sept. 11 council meeting.
Treasurer Tom Gefucia said the fire base is at 1.2 per cent alone.
“In order to come up with 0.7 that means a reduction in services or something somewhere else, that’s without looking at capital,” said Gefucia.
With those two numbers being tossed around, Coun. Shane Baker suggested perhaps the target guideline should be set at two per cent.
However, it was suggested the 3.5 per cent number represents the fire base, salary costs and the rate of inflation.
“I think keeping our budget to a 0.7 per cent increase would be a very challenging task,” said Young. “We know we have some infrastructure (costs) coming this year.”
Councillors decided given what the rate includes, a 3.5 per cent guideline was a reasonable place to start.
“We’re not looking at this gigantic increase,” said Young.
“It’s covering a lot of must-pay items and a little bit for inflation... Remember this is just a guideline, it gives us something to start with,” he said.
The first glance at the 2013 budget will come to council in November.