“ BMRA serves in an advocacy role with Town Council and staff on behalf of ratepayers to ensure and enhance our community’s quality of life.”

“Keeping the BMRA membership informed”

The BMRA Addresses County Council Regarding Support and Accountability

On Friday Feb 7, the BMRA represented by Jim Torrance and John White, made a deputation to County Council regarding the proposed 2020 County budget. The presentation document can be accessed through this link. We believe this was the first deputation the BMRA has made to County Council, and it did receive the full attention of Council and staff.

The primary messages delivered were that the Town of Blue Mountains requires reinvestment of a “fair” proportion of our contribution to County tax levies and Development Charges (DCs), and we expect the County to actively pursue service delivery efficiencies as responsible stewards of Municipal funds.

With regard to reinvestment in TBM of the funds TBM sends to the County, we highlighted data that shows from 2014-2018, only 21% of DC dollars raised in TBM by the County were used to fund capital projects in TBM. We strongly suggested that without receiving required County support with our infrastructure spending, the current level of TBM growth is likely unsustainable. The potential need for a moratorium on future TBM development projects, if greater infrastructure investment is not received, was discussed. Deputy Mayor Rob Potter commented to County Council that because this potential for slowing growth would reduce future TBM tax levies and DCs to the County, it would be comparable to “shooting the golden goose”. We fully agree with DM Potter’s statement.

The other key issue was the need to capture service delivery efficiencies to limit future County budget increases. We commented that there was no mention of enhanced efficiencies, performance metrics, nor sun setting of programs no longer effective or required in the budget document. We referenced initiatives both in Simcoe County and TBM that are utilizing Provincial funding for efficiency enhancements, and stated our expectation the same would be pursued in Grey.

The TBM currently provides 26% of total County tax levies, with about 15% of County population, and when the 2020 property assessments are completed, we expect this figure to rise above 30%. Also, we are now sending an equal amount of our tax payments – 40% – to the County as we keep in TBM (the other 20% goes to education). In future years, the portion sent to the County will surely be greater than what we maintain in TBM, which is why we think it is imperative that we demand responsible and equitable County management and allocation of our money.

The agreed upon next step is that BMRA representatives will meet with senior County staff to get answers to the questions that we have posed. We have stressed that we require transparency and accountability from the government entities serving TBM – which we feel we do receive from TBM Council and staff – and we will endeavour to build a similar relationship with the County. We will keep our members apprised of the progress we make in this regard.

Power Point in PDF format