Abstract - High Taxes
 

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Ten Steps Council Must Take to
put Owen Sound on the Road to Recovery

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Questions for the New Council
 
      

Questions You Can Ask the New Council

Below are some questions that I encourage everyone who is concerned about the pattern of successive annual tax increases to ask. If we don't speak up I estimate that we will be looking at 2023 tax increases in the order of 4% to 6%. The New Council needs to hear from you. Council doesn't listen to a single voice. They need to hear repeatedly from a multitude of voices on the same issue to take action.

If you have a question that you would like added to the list below enter it in the form below and I'll post it here.

Questions to Consider

1.   High expenses drive high taxes. Do you have a plan for reducing expenses? If So, please provide the details.

2.   Will you table a motion at Council to investigate the discrepancy in staffing between Owen Sound and Strathroy and commit to reducing Owen Sound's staffing to at least match that of Strathroy, which has a population greater than Owen Sound, within the next 3 years?

3.   Past Councils have allowed expenses to grow at a rate that was twice that of inflation. To put an end to this Council needs to establish a Budget Committee with sufficient authority to provide direction to the city manager to end budget increases.  Will you support a motion to create a Budget Committee with the authority to vet all budgets before they are presented to Council and to direct the city manager as required?

4.   Will you table a motion at Council to implement Zero-Based Budgeting for developing the 2023 budget?

5.   Transparency at city hall is important. Currently it is very difficult to monitor changes in staffing levels. Will you table a motion at Council to direct the city manager to report staffing levels including Full time and Part Time employees and/or total Full Time Equivalents (FTE) over the past ten years highlighting annual changes?

6.   Will you table a motion at Council to establish fully-burdened cost-centers to provide tax payers with the ability to see spending at the department level?

7.   Will you table a motion at Council to instruct the city's audit firm to include reports on each of the city departments in the end year audit financial statements including the FTE count?

8.   It's important that Council learn from past mistakes. Over the past five years past Councils have approved spending increases well above the norm in two particular departments - Transit and the Art Gallery. Will you table a motion at Council to conduct a financial audit of both the Transit Department and the Art Gallery to report spending irregularities over the past five years?

9.   Will you table a motion at Council to provide temporary winter housing for those in need similar to the Charlottetown initiative by installing temporary mobile housing units at the Harrison Park Campground during the winter months?

10.  It is clear that staff do not vet departmental budgets before they get to Council. Instead the city manager just passes on what he receives for Council to vet. Will you table a motion at Council to direct the city manager to vet all 2023 budget submissions with the goal of tabling a draft 2023 budget with a 2% tax reduction?


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Examples of Spending

 

Click on the icons below to take a quick look at how Owen Sound compares to its neighbours.
COMMERCIAL TAXES RESIDENTIAL TAXES RATE COMPARISON TAX COMPARISON INCOME COMPARISON

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1 comment on 1 page
Thank you for for holding Council accountable. Your work has been very helpful.  
John Morrison


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