After three months and six plus intensive meetings the 2012 budget will be presented to Council for a final vote in January. Council has been working with staff to bring in a budget with a year-over-year cost increase of 2% or less. While the final cost increase amount is still being calculated, the municipal portion of your taxes should increase by 1.2% in 2012. In addition to many behind the scenes adjustments by staff, key highlights from the budget are:
- Council required both non-union staff and Council to accept a salary increase cap of 2% for 2012 (down from an expected increase of 2.5%). Union staff was asked if they would voluntarily accept a similar cap.
- Council decided to make no changes to its existing benefit program, pending a management study in 2012
- A decision was made not to hire any additional full-time staff; plus one part time position was removed.
- The Fire department was asked to adjust its call out system to reduce the amount of overtime it incurs
- Two contracted planning studies were deferred
- Affordable recreation was maintained; the hospital campaign was committed to for three years; the physicians recruitment program was supported
- Library cost increase was held to 2%
- The Works Depot was deferred for one year and the purchase of a new aerial ladder truck was deferred for three years.
While setting the 2012 budget Council heard public calls to slash staff and municipal services to quickly reduce our tax rate. Council also learned from staff that many of the Town’s fiscal indicators are in good shape - our full-time staff complement has been essentially stable for the last three years; we have a manageable debt load; we have not depleted our Town reserves. These realities have strengthened Council’s resolve that the best course of action is to maintain the fiscal discipline evidenced in 2012 for the next two years and turn our focus to bringing jobs back to
. That is the better way to control the Town budget and reduce the tax burden on our residents. Midland