Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Taxes 2015, looking at the numbers

Last Thursday (Oct 16) council and administration began the 2015 budget process, all meeting are open to the public and are being held in the council chambers. (Next meeting Oct 23, @ 2pm topic of discussion will be municipal reserves)

Last week administration reviewed the budget process with council who expressed their desire for a zero (0%) tax increase.  

Is that realistic? I think so. Right now the process as just begun, we do not know what all the issues are and what exactly administration will be presenting to us during the budget process. We certainly have the option of coming back to the public with something other than zero. That is a decision that will be made by the majority of council at the end of budget process. (January 31,2015) 

The following is some interesting Financial Information regarding the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and will certainly weight on my mind as we move forward through this process.  


Net municipal property taxes collected 2007   $5,465,057

Net municipal property taxes for 2014 $6,729,350

Difference of $1,264,293 or 23.1%

Franchise Fee’s 

2007 we did not collect, 2014 we are collecting $700,000

During 2014 we are collecting additional revenue of  $2 million over what the municipality collected in 2007.    

Cost of living (CPI)

Jan 1st 2007 CPI was 109.4
Sept 1st 2014 CPI is 125.8

The CPI has increased by 15% from Jan 1,2007 to Sept 1,2014 our tax revenue alone increased by 23% during that same time frame easily keeping pace with inflation. 

The greatest cost any public sector organization incurs is wages/salaries/benefits, keep in mind the following numbers include all of our staff both unionized and administrative. This is where finding and eliminating inefficiencies is so critical. Neither we or any other organization, public or private sector can keep growing indefinitely.     


2007 Wages/Salaries/Benefits  $3,948,805

2014 Wages/Salaries/Benefits  $5,655,650

Difference on wages/salaries/benefits $1,706,845 or 43.2% 

Last night our Chief Finance Officer presented the following report that provides a lot of good information. 


Anonymous said...

What is the new law suit concerning? Also you never did provide details on the settlement of the other lawsuits?

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

The other lawsuit is still waiting for the lawyers to finish the paperwork.

Anonymous said...

And what is the new lawsuit concerning?

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

New lawsuit you know as a councilor I cannot discuss. Just keep in mind in Alberta you can file a law suit for up to two years, after an incident.
So yes it's another legacy one.

TransparencyCNP said...

"New lawsuit you know as a councilor I cannot discuss."

We could go to the courts and see the filing for a $10 fee, as Joni did with the Chinook lawsuit. It is public information.

You cannot discuss "Privileged Information", which means like "Lawyer-Client Privilege" - confidential discussions about legal strategy.

You guys seem to think anything remotely connected with "Land, Legal or Labour" must be kept secret. That is not what the law says. It does say that information is public unless it is required to be kept confidential.

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

This is what I adhere to, I will not be discussing In Camera issues.

"Council members, the CAO and any others included in the in-camera discussion are required to keep in confidence what was discussed until the item is discussed at a meeting held in public".

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that you guys are spending WAY to much time "in Camera".
You complained about the previous council about transparency along with the rest of council but now you are no better!

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

I look forward to the day when we have nothing to deal with "In Camera". We are all looking forward to resolving the "legacy" issues.

TransparencyCNP said...

"This is what I adhere to ..."

It also says:
In-camera discussions should be listed on the agenda for the meeting in which they are held. The agenda should contain a ‘Confidential’ heading and then provide a brief description of the topic. For example, “Personnel - Evaluation” could be used to describe conducting the performance appraisal of a chief administrative officer or “Legal – Arena Project” could describe discussions regarding a pending court case. Further information is not required. .

The CNP agenda only says "Land", "Legal" or "Personnel" or sometimes nothing at all.

And "Personnel" should only apply to Council's only employee, the CAO. There have been several "Personnel" in camera sessions.

Anonymous said...

Dean when is the next budget meeting?

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

Next budget meeting is Thursday Nov 6 @ 2pm in council chambers.

TransparencyCNP said...

"This is what I adhere to, I will not be discussing In Camera issues.

'Council members, the CAO and any others included in the in-camera discussion are required to keep in confidence what was discussed until the item is discussed at a meeting held in public'."

This is a cop-out, because you vote to approve the agenda and you vote every time to go in camera.

I would like to know why our 2 year $50,000 Best Western franchise expired in 8 months. We could be told this without revealing personal information, trade secrets, legal advice or other FOIPP issues. The only reason we are kept in the dark is that Council voted to discuss it in camera.

(Yes, I know, it was money down the drain, but if there was misrepresentation maybe we should be asking for a refund or thinking about prosecution.)

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

Several responses:

If we have a land, legal, labor issue on every agenda we will go "In Camera".

The Best Western $50,000 deal was not between the Municipality and Best Western. The deal was between Best Western and Vachon Group. The municipality just paid the $50,000.

One of my main arguments aggainst the deal was that the municipality paid the $50,000 but owned nothing.

The deal between Vachon group and Best Western was for two years.

We did not renew it for the simple reason that it would have cost us more money. The only thing worse than throwing away $50,000 would have been throwing away $????.

Legal avenues every time we get just a legal opinion it costs thousands of dollars.

Personally I don't want to spend a $100,000 in legal fees to get back $50,000.

Lastly do I think something illegal happened here? not really awful stupid? yes, illegal? No

TransparencyCNP said...

"If we have a land, legal, labor issue on every agenda we will go 'In Camera'."

If you read more than one sentence of "IN-CAMERA DISCUSSIONS OF COUNCIL", it does not say "land, legal, labor", it says:

"within one of the exceptions to disclosure in Division 2 of Part 1 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
(FOIP) Act".


"What should not be discussed in-camera?
The MGA sets out clear requirements for municipal councils to conduct their business openly (except in very limited and specific circumstances discussed above).
As an elected body, councils should avoid conducting business in-camera. This includes discussion of difficult topics, such as:
Tax i.e. assessments/mill rates, penalties
Capital expenditures
Subdivision proposals
Tax recovery i.e. reserve bids for auction.
Discussions regarding the hiring of additional municipal staff and or the setting of salary ranges.

This Council has voted to go in camera for all of the above.