UXBRIDGE: Councillors will have their pencils sharpened and their calculators ready later this fall when 2016 municipal budget deliberations begin
A tentative timetable of this year’s budget process was passed by councillors at their meeting on the morning of Monday, Oct. 5.
Discussions will begin with the annual budget open house inside Council Chambers at Town Hall, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30.
The real number crunching is set to begin on Tuesday, Dec. 8 and Thursday, Dec. 10, at sessions scheduled to run from 1 to 6 p.m.
At Monday’s meeting, Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet noted that the process has often begun with high increases, only to be brought down after careful consideration, with councillors often going through the budget line-by-line looking for any possible savings.
“In past years, we’ve started at what could be called ridiculously high budgets that have to be whittled down to something that’s palatable,” commented Councillor Highet.
However, Ward 2 Councillor and Finance Committee Chair Pat Molloy noted that the process has been streamlined in recent years, and praised township staff for their part in making the process move faster than in past years.
“I think that we’re getting better every year, and our staff have a great understanding of what we’re looking for at budget time,” added Councillor Molloy.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger reminded his council counterparts that Durham Region remains committed to an increase no larger than 1.75 per cent. However, Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor was quick to point out that Uxbridgers may not necessarily see the same level of savings on the regional portion of their property tax bill.
“An increase of 1.75 is what the Region’s goal is, but we could be higher or we could be lower because the tax rates are different for each of the eight municipalities in the Region, and that’s what will determine what it ultimately is,” cautioned Mayor O’Connor.
Councillor Molloy added that Uxbridge will be looking at keeping its tax increase as minimal as possible for the coming year.
“We will definitely be making sure that staff know that we’re looking at an inflation-level increase which is 1.5 to 2 per cent.”