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Municipal government has one main source of revenue, Property taxes. Yes, there are also user fees, program fees, grants from higher levels of governments etc, but really, property taxation is the primary source of revenue that funds all of the services, programs and activities of municipal government.|
I generally believe that taxes should be kept at a minimum level to provide the services and amenities residents require and desire, and that the City must maintain adequate reserves to provide for known future expenses. Balancing required vs. desired, and afforability, is the challenge of municipal government.
In my nine years on city council, I am pleased that we have kept our tax increases to a minimum and through this past Council term I am proud to say that under my leadership, the average tax/utility increases were the LOWEST in 15 years! The City has gone into debt for the new Rec Centre, Police Building and Fire hall - balancing debt against the life expectancy of the facilities is one of the issues being proposed in the long term financial and capital plans.
Despite delivering the lowest tax increase in 15 years, we were able on the past Council term to complete projects such as the Moody Street Overpass, Westhill Multi-sport Box, Arts Centre Expansion, and other capital projects by managing the projects effectively and planning efficiently.
We have undertaken a Strategic Team Action Plan and conducted a full Municipal Service Assessment Review to re-prioritize and re-align staffing levels to gain efficiencies without decreasing staff levels. Further, I have led the Police Board and department through a strategic planning process, including rationalizing services and future planning that brings the police budget into alignment with the overall sustainability principles of the City.
I will continue to lead Council to review service priorities, and work with our senior staff to identify opportunities for efficiencies in our budgets. Residents demand the highest value for their tax dollars and City staff deliver the highest level of service very efficiently.