Oakville’s Budget for 2015 reveals Debt rising by 300 Percent

Budget Chair Tom Adams assures that there is a plan

Budget Box
Oakville’s Budget for 2015 reveals Debt rising by 300 Percent
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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On February 20th town staff presented Oakville’s proposed 2015 operating and capital budgets to the Budget Committee achieving Council’s direction to keep the total property tax increase in line with inflation. Town staff recommended a 2.35 per cent increase to the town’s portion of the tax bill for an overall property tax increase of 1.53 per cent including the approved region increase and estimated education tax rates. The proposed increase would see residential property taxes increase by $13.35 per $100,000 of assessment meaning that a home assessed at $400,000 would pay an additional $53.40 per year or $1.03 per week.

The big line item in the 2015 Oakville Budget which is going to raise a few eyebrows is the increase in the overall debt to $131,827,000 by the end of 2015 from the current $47,900,000. The increase is due to the $90,000,000 debenture that Oakville councillors approved earlier this year for the new Oakville Hospital, which will be reduced to $89,300,000 by the end of 2015.

Councillor Adams, who is chair of the Budget Committee, explained that the total self-supported debt for the Town of Oakville is $123,000,000. What self-supported debt is that payments of interest plus principal is coming from sources other than property taxes. The hospital debenture is being paid by dividends received from Oakville Hydro’s highly successful energy businesses, which are separate from the Hydro rates. The other portion of the self-supported debt is carried by user fees.

There is $8,300,000 of debt that is supported by property taxes; however, this debt was accumulated of many years for a multitude of projects. The town is paying down this debt by $2,300,000 this year.

On a positive note the total amount in the reserve funds that the Town of Oakville holds is $192,000,000. These funds are set aside for a wide variety of issues which includes covering such things as the 2013 Ice Storm clean up. As long as our debt stays below a 1 to 1 ratio the credit bureaus appear to be happy.

In general, the staff is recommending a $459.1 million combined budget for operating and capital requirements to provide over 60 wide ranging programs and services including winter road maintenance, parks and trails, harbours, transit, emergency services, recreation and culture, senior services, libraries, and to keep the town’s 1,900 kilometres of roads and 1.9 million square feet of community facilities in a state of good repair.

According to the budget presentation from town Deputy Treasurer and Director of Financial Planning Nancy Sully, the 2.35 per cent increase to the town’s portion of the tax bill includes a 1.19 per cent increase for the costs of providing town programs and services, and a 1.16 per cent increase in funding for infrastructure renewal. When the town’s portion of the tax bill is combined with the estimated regional and education tax levy, it results in the proposed 1.53 per cent increase on the property tax bill.

The town’s capital budget provides funds for both the replacement of aging infrastructure and the construction of new infrastructure. Key capital projects for 2015 going forward for approval include:

  • $7.1 million for road resurfacing and preservation;
  • $5.3 million for reconstruction of Sixth Line north of Dundas Street;
  • $3.9 for the town’s Emerald Ash Borer Management Program;
  • $2.9 million for the replacement of old Oakville Transit buses;
  • $2 million for improvements to portions of the North Service Road;
  • $1.8 million for Bronte Harbour dredging;
  • $1.8 million for improvements to Speers Road;
  • $1.7 million for west shore landscape rehabilitation at Sixteen Mile Creek;
  • $1.7 million to replace aging roads and works equipment,
  • $975,000 for the design and preliminary work towards the rehabilitation of Oakville Arena.

“This recommended budget keeps the total property tax increase in line with inflation while delivering long-term sustainability of our infrastructure, our facilities, as well as our outstanding programs and services,” said Budget Committee Chair Councillor Tom Adams. “I encourage residents to review the budget documents and provide feedback over the coming weeks. These are your tax dollars at work.”

With the budget process now underway, the Budget Committee will be holding both formal and informal public consultation meetings before the budget is brought forward to Council for approval on March 30.
The public is encouraged to get involved in the process through the following opportunities:

 

  • Budget Open House on Wednesday, February 25 at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre from 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Budget Open House on Tuesday, March 3 at Iroquois Ridge Community Centre from 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Commission presentations at Budget Committee meeting on March 5 at 9:30 a.m. and March 9 at 9:30 a.m., if required
  • Public delegations presented at Budget Committee meeting on March 11 at 9:30 a .m. and 7 p.m.
  • Budget Committee deliberations on March 23 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Final Budget approval by Town Council on March 30 at 7 p.m.

All Budget Committee and Council meetings will be held in Council Chamber at Town Hall, located at 1225 Trafalgar Road and are open to the public. For those who cannot attend the meetings, they are streamed live at TownTV.ca. Residents can also email their comments to budget@oakville.ca. All submissions whether in person, writing, email or social media, will be considered as part of the Budget Committee deliberations.

If you would like to attend a meeting and have any accessibility needs, please contact Kathy Patrick at 905-845-6601, ext. 4235 or fill out the accessible online feedback form.

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Hart Jansson says:

    It is interesting to note that the budget highlights never mention the absolute increase in the budget.It only always mentions the key expenditures. I think it would be highly informative for the public to show comparisons to last year(s), and key revenue streams (eg devt fees), just like a typical corporate financial statement. While we are at it, how about a projection of the budget for 2 to 5 years in the future?

     Reply
  2. John McLaughlin says:

    Debt is debt, it must all be repaid.

    Consolidated total Town debt (including Oakville Hydro) is closer to $450 million, including the hospital donation.

    The total cost of the $90 million Town hospital donation, over the 30 year debenture term, is closer to $175 million dollars.

     Reply



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