Saturday, October 29, 2011

Midland – Cost and Taxes

Midland Council is now wrestling with its 2012 budget and municipal tax rate. Council is divided on the matter – some leaning towards a 5% cost increase while others 2%. The debate though is about a lot more than this year’s tax rate. It’s about Midland’s future.

Municipal costs go up every year. To be fair Midland has little control over some costs:
-         inflation
-         ongoing service downloading from the Province
-         growth in population
In addition, service improvements and contractual commitments are also regularly being added to the Town budget. The net effect is concerning. Over recent years our costs have been growing at 5% to 7% a year while the number of households paying for these costs has been increasing by about 1% a year. Something has to change.

Our cost growth must be balanced with our ability to pay.  Midland’s ability to pay is constrained by many factors. Midland has long been an area with low per household incomes. Our large senior population often lives on incomes indexed to the cost of living (less than 2%). Jobs have been lost recently due to the economic downturn. And finally, Midland receives limited financial support from the Province. These factors underscore the need to get our costs under control.

Midland needs a spending discipline that will reduce our cost growth while being respectful of citizens who depend upon municipal services. I believe it can be done and will work with Council to implement the following measures:
-         all-in cost growth increase of 2% or less
-         no increase in total staff complement
-         all –in annual tax increase in the range of 0% to 1%
Recognize these measures must be maintained for the next three years.

Meeting these targets will require adjustments by both the Town and our citizens. But getting our spending under control is necessary for building a better future for everyone.


Anonymous said...


Your blog's bring information to the residents that
effect them!

I'm confused. Why
doesn't anyone "comment"on your blog's?

"Just Wondering"

Gord McKay said...

Good question. I do not get a lot of comments on the blog but I certainly get a lot at the office.