LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for September 26, 2017

This year’s #GuelphBudget process begins with a staff presentation tonight! You can click here for the agenda from City Hall. For the complete blow-by-blow of tonight’s council meeting, you can follow me on Twitter, or follow along below via Storify.

 

Guelph City Council Meeting – September 26, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 6 pm

  1. Your city, your money
  2. Reminder: the annual budget process does not allow for exact taxes to be calculated at budget time.
  3. In 2017, taxation represented about 52% of Guelph’s $431.9 Mn revenue.
  4. Greg Clark, program manager for capital planning, will now present the capital budget overview.
  5. City going to one capital budget instead of tax and non-tax. This is consistent with the value of Corporate Asset Mgmt says Clark.
  6. Another change this year is re-categorizing things on service delivery instead of asset type.
  7. Also new, the direct operating impacts will be presented. Operating impacts will be presented as part of base budget in 2019, not expansion
  8. Infrastructure renewal vs growth. Renewal means no expansion of service. Growth does.
  9. Clark: As long as we have a gap, the backlog is going to continue to grow.
  10. Clark says the current 9 year capital forecast is not funded and not sustainable. Step in right direction with 1% levy last year.
  11. City Treasurer Tara Baker back to wrap up the presentation. Encourages council and community to get involved.
  12. Cllr Downer is chairing on behalf of Mayor Guthrie and opens floor to questions.
  13. Cllr Hofland asks about the budget simulator.
  14. Baker says they’re not using the simulator this year. Public didn’t use it much and didn’t get a lot of good feedback
  15. Hofland agrees, and now asks about “corporate pressure”
  16. Corporate pressures not expansions, says Baker. It’s energy, compensation, base things city is “struggling” with that are not new additions.
  17. Cllr Allt appreciates Baker saying this not a forum for surprises, but does she just mean new spending, or new cuts too?
  18. Baker: Yes, a lot of work goes into budget, and and there are lots of opportunities to being ideas forward before budget night.
  19. CAO Thomson: Tonite is an educational opp. How did budget come together, and what’s coming forward with capital?
  20. Allt wonders if relative to Guelph, other municipalities are looking for solutions to infrastructure deficit.
  21. Baker: Main theme of treasurer conference she attended was the gap. Lots of different strategies being approached.
  22. Baker: last couple of years it’s been a “non-funded” forecast b/c council hasn’t been able to fund any of its needs…
  23. …the result is that the 9 year forecast may become a 15-20 year forecast when affordability determined.
  24. Cllr Bell, Q on operating impacts: What ways are staff going to portray the impact of a capital decision?
  25. Baker: Examples incl. per new km or trail or road. In some cases, they’ll be identifiable. (New car = new operator, for example).
  26. Cllr MacKinnon asks about the unfunded forecast does that include debt funding?
  27. Baker: City staff looks at how much funding is available, and the impacts moving items around to achieve funding. Case by case, basically
  28. MacKinnon: If a project is eligible for $20 Mn in develop. charges, and it’s $20 Mn short, is it unfunded?
  29. Staff: We’re just talking about the tax portion that the City is responsible for.
  30. Cllr Salisbury: Wants specific projects that would fall under “city building”
  31. Clark: New main library, needs significant funding for renos or new building. Library looking to enhance services = city building.
  32. Upgrading a park is another example, as is adding a bike lane to an existing road.
  33. Salisbury says “so the skatepark is city building”? A pointed comment given the mayor’s pride of the park.
  34. Wettstein: Funding is not a guaranteed of priority, still up to the whim of council, right?
  35. Baker says yes, and Wettstein adds that he’s not sure that’s a good situation.
  36. Cllr Billings gets some confirmation on days and times. Capital in November, Operating in December. There’s a link so why separate?
  37. Baker says early time on capital is to get tendering out early & get better pricing.
  38. Hofland concerned about delegations speaking to both capital and operating on the same night.
  39. Baker: Delegations for capital can come on Oct 26. Then the vote will be on Nov 2.
  40. Cllr Gibson: Asks for for clarification on “1% compounded levy” when he thinks is means “10% compounded” over 10 years.
  41. Gibson interpretation correct. City needs 1%/year and will be sustainable by 2022
  42. The red is the difference in funds, the blue represents when Guelph can start addressing backlog. https://t.co/pG6zofeEEK

    The red is the difference in funds, the blue represents when Guelph can start addressing backlog. pic.twitter.com/pG6zofeEEK
  43. Wettstein also wants to understand levy. In order to meet 2032 deadline, so addition going to be necessary beyond 1%?
  44. Baker: the 1% last year is the base. If council did nothing else, the forecast looks like this... https://t.co/870L7GwwTe

    Baker: the 1% last year is the base. If council did nothing else, the forecast looks like this… pic.twitter.com/870L7GwwTe
  45. In other news Wettstein understands compounding “extremely well”
  46. No more Qs. Bell moves to receive the report.
  47. Council votes 11-0 to receive the report.
  48. Meeting adjourned. Thank you and good night.

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