During the ten year observation period inflation has been historically very low (1-2%). We know that this has already started to change and could grow to 5-7% this year alone. This will have a significant impact on the cost of delivering services to the community. So we can expect that the trends shown in figures 1 and 2 will be much steeper to reflect costs and taxes rising much faster. Hence, things will get much worse if Council does not get focused on turning things around this year.
There are really only two options for reducing expenses and limiting future expense-growth. They are:
a. Reduce or eliminate non-essential services that are poorly subscribed, and/or
b. Reduce the cost of service delivery through a complete overhaul of the budget preparation process.
Reducing the cost of service delivery when it comes to essential services like Protective Services will be challenging. However, given the magnitude of their contribution to the problem they cannot be ignored. In fact Council would be hard pressed to address the problem without dealing with this obvious cost driver as shown in figure 8. The next few pages will introduce potential solutions for reducing the future cost of services.