31 May 2009
SUBJECT: MEAFORD MOMENT
Is The Town of The Blue Mountains headed to a Meaford moment?
At the Council Planning Meeting on April 6/09 report # FIS.09.18 was included in 125 pages of documents given to the councillors that night. This report advised the Mayor and Council that the building department ran a deficit of $252,667.39 in 2008. In the minutes of this meeting Councillor Gamble asked and I quote – “how far in the negative the reserve fund will go and how it could be brought back”. The chief Building official replied, and I quote- “by way of permit fees and staffing considerations”. I am not sure whether the Mayor or Deputy Mayor were at the meeting but in any event no other questions on this important financial issue were asked, except Councillor Gamble’s.
In an e-mail dated May 7, 2009, I asked the TBM accounting department for clarification and was advised that the subject was under review with the auditors but that the town hoped to recover the deficit by increased fees. They also advised and I quote- “There are other alternatives that could involve property taxes or reserves”. Building fee revenue is down 46% in April and expected to go lower in the coming months. This leaves only two options if we are to avoid a Meaford moment, and that is raise taxes or cut cost in the building department as suggested by David Finbow on May 6/09.
The Mayor needs to address this important issue and I hope she will do so at the up-coming Blue Mountains Ratepayers Association meeting.
AT LEAST THAT’S THE WAY I SEE IT