Your town councillors in approximately one week will begin the process of reviewing the 2012 capital and operating budgets for the Town of Milton. There will be many things to discuss over the coming weeks from keeping the 1% hospital expansion levy, possible transit funding increases, salary increases, increased parks development, planning for the Main Street underpass, increased operating costs of the Milton Centre for the Arts/Central Library are amongst the topics.
Im sure as the December 12/13 dates for the budget deliberations approach, town councillors eyes will be bleary with numbers floating in front of their face (and maybe a few cold sweats in the night) but I think we have tried to get more people involved with the budget process this year.
This past summer, myself along with a number of other councillors held a budget information session at Milton Sports Centre to hear from you…not tell you what we think…on what the priorities should be for the coming year and years.
There is another budget information session being held on November 23rd (WEDNESDAY) this week by Regional Councillor Colin Best to review not only the Town of Milton’s information but the Region of Halton as well. Its also being held at the Milton Sports Centre from 7 to 9pm. Email email@example.com let him know you’re coming. I have a bit of a conflict that night with another event but Im sure going to try my best to attend.
With that being said, we still need to hear from you. One big contentious item from last year was the 1% hospital expansion tax levy that was introduced at the budget meeting and voted on with no public consultation. This was supposed to get the hospital expansion approved by the province. Several months later, mere days before the official launch of the provincial election campaign, the government made a visit to Milton District Hospital to announce the expansion which is to begin 2015.
Some will try to argue the levy made the difference, but I think the prospect of losing the election had a lot more to do with the announcement than approximately $300,000 in a reserve account. More can be discussed on that later.
Im asking the residents of ward 6 and of the town of Milton to send myself and your councillor your views on these types of items. Once the full budget is released to the public, we’ll have a better frame of reference to go by.
I know the levy will be discussed, and as I did last year, I will vote to have it removed from the property tax bill in town and have our wonderful staff in the accounting side of the Town Hall to find us where we can put aside money for the expansion reserve account. The levy was ill guided then and it remains the same today. From the comments I received over the last year, I know many of you feel the same way.
This budget is an ongoing process and we need as much involvement from the community as we can get. We need to hear from you.