Budget-regBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

Budget – Take One

The 2015 Owen Sound budget marathon has begun.

"I don't want any of you to go away not understanding. Please ask questions,"
Owen Sound City Manager Ruth Coursey encouraged the new mayor, four rookie councillors and two vets at Wednesday's opening meeting.

The draft operating budget of $27.5 million prepared by staff maintains the current level of service, but would require a 5.3% increase in the city's portion of the property tax bill. Any service cuts will be selected by council and Wayne Ritchie, long time Director of Finance, suggested there will not be a single initiative for reducing the budget that will not receive push back from some ratepayers.

chamber-regThis summary report has been sent directly to Mayors, Deputy Mayors and CAO's of Owen Sound, Georgian Bluffs, Chatsworth and Meaford.

The report is also available on the Chamber's website direct link to article

anne-notes-regBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

The meeting began with the room full and single-minded. They had come to bury development charges, not to praise them.

Gary Scandlan had no doubt been in such a situation many times. The consultant from Watson and Associates gave a clear and concise summary of the purpose and limits of development charges (DCs) and the policy matters and calculations involved, but those who were waiting to speak already knew their response.

Essentially all the speakers – developers, real estate agents and investors, and sub-trades – spoke as one: development charges will stifle the new building that will grow the city's tax base. One-time charges will send new growth and long-term taxpayers to other municipalities. Some doubted the consultant's projections of growth and capital expenses; others questioned the expense or need for the consultant's work.

The recently created Owen Sound Community Association presented the results of an on-line poll, which although statistically insignificant included comments both for and against DC increases.


This document was issued by the City of Owen Sound, ahead of a public meeting scheduled for January 12.
(Click images to enlarge)

cold-regOfficials at the City of Owen Sound remind the public that municipal buildings are open in the city during the cold snap.

With the current low temperatures and wind chill factor, the City of Owen Sound advises people to take care against the cold weather by seeking shelter.

The following municipal buildings are open to the public:

The Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., the Bayshore Community Centre 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Julie McArthur Regional Recreation Centre 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and City Hall 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All four locations have rest areas where the public can take a break from the cold.

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