Monday, February 26, 2007

We have a winner!

Biggest "Not news to anyone" story of 2007
Tax hike likely, mayor says (subscribers only)
Maintaining existing services without increase 'very improbable'
Anne Jarvis, Windsor Star
Published: Monday, February 26, 2007

Facing rising costs and falling revenue, the city will need an extra $27 million -- seven per cent more -- from taxpayers this year to pay for existing operations and some additional staff and improved services, according to a report on the 2007 budget to be discussed by council tonight.
An interesting quote from the Mayor in the article:
"Maintaining existing services without raising taxes would be "very, very improbable," said Mayor Eddie Francis, and council is not likely to want to reduce services significantly, he said."
When the Administration creates the budget, this is exactly what you get. Wasn't this what the Modified Zero Based Budget was supposed to correct? It was lauded as Councillors taking control of the budget process.
Modified Zero Based Budgeting
In 2004, City Council approved a phased implementation to a modified zero based budgeting approach that provides a significantly greater review of how tax dollars are spent. In modified zero based budgeting, every dollar must be justified as opposed to the traditional method of only explaining new programs and the amounts requested in excess of the previous period's funding. In addition to saving money and improving services, it can increase restraint in developing budgets, reduce any sense of “entitlement” to budget increases to cover costs, and can make budget discussions more meaningful. The 2006 budget development is the second year of the 3-year phase-in period with 11 additional departments and agencies being added to the 4 that started the new process in 2005

I guess we'll never know if any "sense of entitlement" existed or restraint was lacking in the 9 City Departments that never faced this process. They are:
* Huron Lodge

* Finance

* Licensing & Enforcement

* Parks Recreation

* Hospitality & Corporate Facility Planning

* Public Works Operations

* Social Support Services

* Housing & Children’s Services

* Windsor Police Services
Some mighty big budgets in that list. And they say it doesn't snow much in Windsor!

Councillor Halberstadt has two good posts on this subject:

High Cost of Propaganda

Utility Rates Piling Up