VALUE FOR TAX DOLLARS
I opposed this year’s tax increase. While it is true Morinville has a revenue problem, I believe it also has a spending problem.
With reserves depleted and provincial dollars decreasing, the next council will need to look hard at staffing, spending, and how many projects it wants to take on.
We cannot continue to raise rates and taxes year over year without doing a deep dive into spending.
One mayoral campaign is stating that we must stay on the road of splitting the mill rate so “businesses pay their fair share.” I did support a split mill rate, and I still support it; however, given the economic challenges of the pandemic, I believe Council needs to re-evaluate the speed and depth at which that takes place.
More importantly, we must dive into expenses and come to the realization that we can no longer be or even try to be all things to all people. In doing so, we can rein in costs so as to live within our means more.
Morinville came out around the middle of the pack in terms of municipal spending, and while some may take pride in that, it is important to note that typical municipal spending is different than typical business spending. Municipalities can spend and raise the tax rate. Businesses who spend and raise prices to their customers do not stay in business long.
So we need to realize that while municipalities are not businesses, they need to be viewed with a little more of a business approach – particularly in these times of tight dollars.
Below are a few things I’d like to do this term:
• Stay on top of monthly financial reporting, which I requested as a motion. More financial data more often allows all Council to question variances.
• See Morinville do a service level review (yes, it will cost money) to examine our true costs of service delivery. If we do not know what it costs to mow a soccer field, we need to.
• Advocate that Council do an interim budget this year to ensure new and old councillors get up to speed on orientation before rubber-stamping a budget a month and a half into the job.
• Getting a good look at the recent organizational restructuring in terms of the costs and what the results of those costs were.