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First look at the 2023 Budget

First look at the 2023 Budget, posted two days ago this post has garnered 51 comments from the usual commenters. Other posts about the same subject – the 2023 Budget have elicited another 57 comments, but most comments in one of them quickly moved off the topic of taxes and went into a lengthy discussion about the need for a Dog Park in the East End. . The comments were observations and opinions of the presented budget. Only two proposals from the Public could be considered new – the idea that Council should investigate Transit again and a request for an East End Dog Park.

Two impressions come to mind – most of the commenters complainers wrote that Council should lower taxes, spend less and eliminate some programmes. But, as usual, no suggestions as to which programmes should be cut. The other impression is that the “know the price of everything but the value of nothing” crowd is still around. Focused on the inflammatory yet true fact and implications they can be summed up in a comment – “The AGN had less than 2500 visits (not visitors) in 2022. With taxpayer support at about $232,000 that means that each visit cost us about $93.”

All of the comments about how Cobourg has a Spending problem not a Revenue problem seem to miss the point that Government is not a business and the “Quality of Life” is immeasurable. I do know that when we have to sell the virtues of Cobourg to investors low taxes may play a part but not as much as the amenities that would tickle the fancy of the CEO’s wife!

The fairest comments of all come from the examination of the new “Stormwater Levy”. This new charge (SWM) is set to replace the line item in the Public Works budget, paid from the General Levy. A sum of money is now going to be raised from all businesses and residences and is based on dubious calculations from the report penned by Watson and Associates. I say dubious because I happen to agree with this presentation penned by Ken Strauss.

The overall impression is that if the Town wants to implement a realistic tax increase then they have to come off the potential 11% increase, 6% of that is the SWM charge. Collected by the local Utility and handed back to the Town as revenue. It is yet to be determined how this money will be collected by LUI or the Town tax levy.

So Council has some hard decisions to make and if the Staff recommendations are implemented Cobourg will be a less desirable place to live – after all any Town that refuses to increase/maintain its tree canopy cannot claim to be any thing else other than regressive.

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