So you might have followed along last night with the Guelph Politico live-blog of the council meeting, or you may have watched it on Rogers, or read some of the articles online this morning. For me, I wanted clarity on a couple of issues, so I reached out to James Krauter, Acting City Treasurer and General Manager of Finance, for his expertise.
First of all, what’s the status of Transit service for 2017? A motion to restore the service to 2015 levels was voted down, but there was some [slight] service restoration. Transit will run half-hour service during holiday hours on the August Civic holiday, and on Boxing Day, but a motion to including Canada Day in the half-hour service was defeated. For 2017, the rest of the stat holiday service will be on a one-hour schedule, and peak service will be suspended for May 1 through to Labour Day. Helper buses will be employed for those four months, and there will be no fair increases.
As for the infrastructure levy, by far the most controversial measure of the night, council voted 9 to 3 to pass a 1 per cent levy over the staff recommended 0.5 per cent. I asked Krauter about the plan going forward, if it would affect the 10 year timetable that staff had recommended with that half-a-percentage levy. “The motion was for staff to bring back a report by June 30 with a recommendation of how to split the 1 per cent between infrastructure renewal and city building,” he said. “So at this time no change to the proposed 10 year time frame.”
According to Krauter, there will also be further review over the next eight or nine months on the conditions of existing infrastructure, and prioritizing what city building projects that council wants to move forward with first. “All of this work will go into the 2018 Capital budget recommendations as well as the 2019-2027 capital forecast, which will then provide the data required to establish the staff recommendation related to any levy for the 2018 budget process,” he said.