The Chamber has made three recommendations on budget related items in response to the 2016 Town of Hinton budget.
February 21, 2016
March 16, 2016
Council has once again held the line on property tax increases and have included only small increases to user fees such as garbage collection and some facility fees. The budget process, under the direction of Denise Parent, the Director of Corporate Services, is more transparent and the information provided to the community is easier to understand. Understandable information is a critical part of improved citizen input.
The Chamber made three recommendations to Council:
Continued Focus on Efficiency – The Town has done a good job of making government more efficient. Getting more done with less is part of our current financial reality and a focused and efficient municipal government is important to a weary business community.
Responsible Use of Automated Traffic Enforcement Funds – The Automated Traffic Enforcement Funds (ATEF) are generated from photo radar in the Town of Hinton. The 2016 Budget anticipates $420,000 flowing back to the community through the Community Grant Program ($250K), Participatory Budgeting ($100K) and the Contingency Fund ($70K) for unplanned requests for support. In 2016, it is anticipated that the ATEF will generate $800K. $420K will flow back to the community and $380K will build reserves to offset future capital needs of the community. The Chamber feels that more of this revenue should remain in reserve accounts to support the nearly $90 million of capital expenditures now on the Town’s long term planning schedule, but without any means of payment.
Effective Use of Borrowing – The ultra-low interest rates and the recent drop in the costs of construction combine to suggest a strategy of accelerating some of our capital requirements. Due to the low interest rates, the impact on the tax payer is neutral whether reserves are collected to pay for future expenditures, or borrowing is used and the construction were to occur sooner. The community has access to improved infrastructure, the construction industry is supported and the tax payer position is not impacted to any significant extent.