City Budget Games: councillors’ musings, part 1

City: Corporation of The City of Brantford, Ontario, Canada

The Numbers

Debt (as at 31.12.13): $41,062,000 + $4,798,000 (interest & principal)
Deficit: $789,000

Outstanding Fines: $13, 200,000

Preliminary 2015 operating budget: $132,200,000 (4.89% increase over 2014)
Preliminary 2015 capital budget: $40,600,000

2014 Assessment Growth: $491,000
2015 Assessment Growth Est.: $766,000

Population (as at 31.12.13): 95,532
Area in acres: 17,986
Employees – Full time: 1,232
Employees – Part time: 583
Number of households: 39,538


The Musings

With all the hand-wringing going on at Brantford City Hall over the 2015 budget, what could be on the minds of councillors?

“Yes, the PRIVATE sector can often do things better.  The city banner program is a good example.”

“Gee, maybe we should have thought about the upcoming difficulties of the 2015 budget before voting to hand out $5.2 Million for the proposed Laurier-YMCA Athletics Complex.”

“Ditto with the sale of a chunk of property (worth millions in COMMERCIAL value) on the south side of Colborne St. to Laurier Brantford and the YMCA for $2.”

“Green lighting the sale of the Market Square (COMMERCIAL value of $30-40 Million) to Laurier in exchange for $5.8 Million in free rent probably not a good idea in hindsight.”

“I have a headache…..gee…..maybe there’s a dept. that has an opening for an office administrator?”

“What else could the private sector do better?”

“We sure jumped the gun on spending $2.4 Million on the south side of Colborne St. wastewater trunk line upgrade—and just what will taxpayers pay for the BABY-SITTING of an idle construction site? There are less COMPLICATED sites for the Laurier-YMCA.”

“The last council voted to spend millions or let if fall through their fingers. Now we’re nickel and diming depts.; talk about PENNYWISE DOLLAR FOOLISH.”

“Gee, maybe following through on collecting $13.2 Million in outstanding fines would make more sense than spending $75,000 on radar feedback signs. Enforcement (when did I last see police checking speeds?) and fine COLLECTION will help reduce speeding.”

“Since when is it “sad” for a city to stop hiring people?” Is it the duty of government to be in a constant hiring mode? Not the duty of an efficient one.”

“McCreary’s right, a city doesn’t need to be in the AIRPORT or GOLF COURSE business.”

“Hey, nobody is LISTENING to me; is my mic working?”

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