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Post Info TOPIC: Timmins taxpayers need to know how dollars are spent


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Timmins taxpayers need to know how dollars are spent


Scripnick says taxpayers need to know how dollars are spent

When it comes to saving public money in Timmins, there are plenty of city taxpayers who aren't afraid to say loud and clear that it's time to shut down the Shania Twain Centre.

Well, that will save you 13 bucks.

That's one of the facts brought forward this week by Timmins city councilor Gary Scripnick for the benefit of council's budget meetings.

In response to a request made earlier this year by Scripnick, city staffers put together a chart showing the costs of several key city departments as pertains to the typical taxpayer who has a home valued at $150,000. (See chart on Page Three)

The chart shows the value of taxes paid in 2008 on that typical home was $2,903.

Of that amount, one of the largest expenses was $576 for spending on public works, road repairs, snow plowing and sanitation. The cost of running the Shania Twain Centre was one the least expensive.

Scripnick explained that regardless of the tax rate this year, he says local property tax owners should have an idea of where there dollars are going once they send the cheque off the City Hall.

Scripnick told council that there is fear and anxiety in Timmins owing to the worldwide economic downturn and many residents may be willing to look at cutting services or at least scaling back services in order to save money.

As an example, he mentioned the idea of having garbage picked up every second week, a practice was in place in Timmins several years ago, as a cost saving measure. But too many residents complained about the cutback in service.

Scripnick says if council is going to make money-saving changes, then the homeowners have to speak up and support council when changes are made. He said anytime council makes changes, council only hears from the complainers.

We give $141 to Transit. So everyone that has a $150,000 home in this community supports Timmins Transit by $141. We can say well we should increase the fees. We tried that in past years and it filled this place with people saying you can't increase our fees. What do we do? he asked.

Scripnick referred to other categories on the chart suggesting there are plenty of examples where taxpayers can choose to cut back spending, maintain the status quo or even choose to increase spending. Parks and recreation. It's $170 that goes to parks and recreation. Is there a discussion there to say that we have too many parks, that we cut the grass in too many? Should we have less? Scripnick asked.

I don't want people to think it's easy to go in there and take a million dollars out of the budget because that's taking some service or some thing away from the residents of Timmins, he said.

Council has not yet determined what the property tax rate will be this year. City administration has presented council with a collage of documents that suggests there will be a 3.18 per cent decrease on the residential tax bill. But that is based on something called weighted assessment which has increased by 6.67 per cent.

Chief Administrative Officer Joe Torlone says city taxpayers must look at their assessment to determine where they stand in regards to a tax increase.

According to the reports presented to council this week, the city has plans to increase its spending this year by $7.4 million dollars, which would bring the total city budget to more than $111 million.

Torlone was quick to explain that the $7.4 million will be offset by special revenues such as the federal gas tax grant and a one-time infrastructure payment from the province.

The extra money will be spent on road improvements ($3 million) salary and wage increases for city employees ((2.25 million), an item described as miscellaneous items ($980,000), extra money for capital works ($500,00) and an increase in tax write-offs ($400,000).

Torlone said because of the special grants coming in, the $7.4 million in extra spending will actually be a net spending amount of $1.76 million.

So when it all washes out we're requesting an additional 1.76 million dollars, said Torlone.

If there is one group in the city that might be able to weather a property tax increase better than others, it's the five hundred plus city employees. According to city administration, most city workers are enjoying a wage increase of roughly three per cent.

Following is a spending breakdown for the taxes from a typical homeowner in Timmins:

Shania Twain Centre 13.00

MRCA 15.00

TEDC 35.00

Porc. Health Unit 47.00

Library Board 62.00

Golden Manor 106.00

Other(museum, bldg dept) 127.00

Timmins Transit 141.00

Parks and Rec. 170.00

Fire Protection 229.00

General government 317.00

Police Services 517.00

CDSSAB 548.00

Public Works, roads 576.00

Total $2,903.00

http://www.timminstimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1434806



-- Edited by Tommy at 12:54, 2009-02-13

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Great article Tommy,Thankssmilewinkaww

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Forgive any misspellings,English's not my mother tongue.


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What are all those initials about?

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