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2015 –Budget & Corporate Debt Management Policy
In January 2015 council passed a resolution that placed a debt ceiling on all debentures that the town will incur. It is important to be fiscally responsible when mapping out the expansion of capital projects. The Municipal Act states that a municipality cannot go past 25% of its Annual Repayment Limit (ARL).
A municipality has to be below 25% when its own source revenue (assessment dollars) is compared to its annual debt. Although 25% maximum usage is allowed, it has not been accepted as responsible fiscal management.
Council passed a 12.5% ARL. Based on present market interest rates, the recommended cap will allow approximately another $16M debenture. The current estimate cost for the Library and Leisure Centre expansion will require a minimum of $18M debenture. This would place the debt above the 12.5% ceiling.
One of the main factors causing higher debentures is a slowdown in the collection of Development Charges (DC’s). Housing starts have slowed over the past two years subsequently the DC funds that were expected to be collected to pay for the expansion have been delayed by 16 months.
It is important to note that council is not shelving the expansion project it is simply placing it on hold temporarily until the necessary DC dollars are collected. This will take place over the next 12 months. In the in term council will be reviewing the design elements to see if there are cost savings.
The main facilities will not be compromised and that being the seniors’ center, pool & fitness center along with the Library. During the spring and summer months there will be public meetings to review possible design changes. All meetings will be advertised in advance through the local papers as well as the town’s social media platforms.
On March 11th 2015 council approved a $70.3 million budget which includes $14.3 million in new funding for capital projects and $56 million to maintain and operate town services. The 2015 Business Plan and Operating Budget include a 2.95% tax increase plus an additional 1% contribution to reserves totalling 3.95%. Once again the town of Stouffville remains one of the lowest tax rates for all municipalities in York Region.
Council will be reviewing the budget each quarter to make sure that spending is in line to what has been set during the budget process. Updates will be posted on this website.