Monday, 6 October 2014

Council split on budget; City could have done a better job reducing spending, say councillors

Ward 2 Coun. Frank Campion said the city can "definitely do better" than a 6.99 per cent tax hike. He plans "to promote that" at tonight's meeting.

He, too, said there's need for infrastructure investment, but said it needs to remain within limits.

"Definitely we can spend as much as we get on infrastructure, but we have to live within our means, basically," he said.

Campion said he is also concerned about the $250,000 set aside for reserves - which amounts to one per cent of the tax increase.

"I'm opposed to that," he said. "I don't believe in the concept of creating a surplus this year to use next year. If we need the money next year we should put it on the taxes next year. There's no point in hanging onto $250,000 of taxpayers' dollars and putting it in the bank."

Ward 2 Coun. Barry Sharpe said he's pleased with the efforts city staff and councillors put into the budget, and plans to support it.

"The main reason for me is I think it's important for the city to make a statement in terms of investing in infrastructure renewal," he said.

The provincial government is pitching in its share this year, with a $2.5-million grant to revamp the city's downtown, "and the city needs to show the same kind of financial leadership," he added.

Sharpe was also pleased with the allocation for the first phase of the sports complex, calling it "very important for the long-run health of this city - underline the word health," he said.

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