Tough times ahead, warns Huntsville CAO

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Council has a very tough time ahead of it, Town of Huntsville CAO Denise Corry told members of the Economic Development Committee on November 26.

You know as staff we are here to try to make that as easy as possible, but the 2016 budget is going to be very difficult. Huntsville CAO, Denise Corry

Staff and members of the Town’s budget subcommittee are working within a set of budget guidelines established and approved by council.

Under those guidelines the proposed increase to the Town’s 2016 net levy, as it pertains to the municipality’s operating budget, is to come in at no higher than six per cent, while its net capital levy is to come in at no higher than 22 per cent over last year. “So overall, the total levy proposed increase would be approximately 8.72 per cent,” said Corry, who was careful to differentiate between an increase to the levy versus an increase to the actual tax rate.

“Increase to levy is how much money we need from year to year to run the corporation and the tax increase is slightly adjusted based on changes in our assessment,” she told those present.

The budget subcommittee is also tasked with looking at ways of achieving specified reserve levels for working capital as well as capital asset repairs.

She said the subcommittee has had a few meetings. “I certainly won’t pretend that there are not a lot of challenges in front of us. Just looking at the capital budget alone, we have some very tough decisions to make at the budget subcommittee before it even gets to council and we will be reviewing the operating budget the first or second week of December,” she said.

Corry said staff has been very diligent in making sure that their operational budgets are as tight as possible.

“From what I’ve seen so far, they’re not too far off from the previous budget year. And I have directed staff not to bring any new initiatives forward unless they are expenses that will generate revenue… or if they’re new initiatives that will result in a reduction of the operating budget.”

She told committee members that everything has been put on hold and the subcommittee is really focused on trying to fund the municipality’s capital plan.

“We are looking at trying to fund those plans totally within a 10 year period,” she said.

We’re sort of balancing a lot of balls at this point, but we are really trying to come up with a tough plan that will address the deficiencies in our capital plan funding as well as some of the immediate concerns that need to be addressed, such as roads. Denise Corry

Corry said there will be a General Committee meeting dealing with aspects of the budget on December 14 at 9 a.m.

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