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Tuesday, 26 July 2016 00:00

Council wants to cut $2.5 mill from city budget

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            Kawartha Lakes council approved a July 12 motion by Mayor Andy Letham asking CAO Ron Taylor to do the impossible: figure out how to cut $2.5 million from the budget next year—with minimal disruption to existing service levels.

            But not before Ward 6 Councillor Doug Elmslie had asked where

the $2.5 million figure came from? Letham’s response: “It’s a good place to start.”

            Ward 16 Councillor Heather Stauble also expressed the obvious concern: how do you cut dollars without decreasing services?

            Taylor’s response: “We will review all areas of our operating budgets and recommend where deeper cuts can be made, and that will be council’s decision later this year.” Detailed recommendations will come when staff brings its first draft 2017 operating budget to council in the fall, he said.

            The city’s total operating budget is approximately $150 million. About one third of that—$50 million—is dedicated to staff payroll and benefits. But Taylor noted that “we are in the service industry, and it is our people who manage and deliver our needed local services.”

            "We are all in this together,” he said. “We are not a bloated bureaucracy.”

            Taylor provided the July 12 council meeting with an overview of the way the city delivers core services, as well as his administration’s efforts to reduce costs.

            “We have shifted our way of doing business to critically review programs, services and processes, and have made necessary changes to find savings in our operations,” he said. “The city’s administration continues to be committed to this goal.”

            “We are striving to stabilize budgets to ensure that tax increases are in line with the cost of living, while improving our needed programs and services,” said Taylor. Good luck.

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