Guelph’s bogus budget baffles Council

By Milton Burns

Once again, the City of Guelph has presented a seriously flawed budget to Council.  This arises because the budget is derived by a series of projects which are based on the previous years’ budget projection which in turn are based on the preceding years’ budget etc. etc. etc.  Perhaps a reality check is warranted.

To illustrate: the Guelph Public Library was chosen to explain the problem.  In 2012 the library had a budget for salaries of $5,433,120 which grew to $5,517, 615 in 2013 and was projected to $5,555,900 in 2014.

The problem is that salaries in 2012 on an audited basis were $5,996,000.  The 2014 budget shows a salary number that is $440,100 or 7.4% below the level of 2 years ago.  Similarly the net budget costs to the City for Guelph Public Library was below the level of 2 years ago by 10.9%.

When it comes to the 2014 Guelph Library budget we are dealing in fiction.  While fiction has a place on library shelves, certainly does not have a place in the Guelph Public Library budget.

It should be noted that library Services was only chosen to illustrate a point and that the flawed budget process can be applied to any other section of the City of Guelph operating budget.

As Councillors are subjected to total erroneous budget numbers, how can they be expected to create a tax environment that is in the best interest of taxpayers?

Once again, the 2014 budget was another exercise in folly.  How else can one explain that the audited figures for the three years 2010-2012 was $125.0 million off budget.  Yes, that is $125.0 million in three years.

 

 

 

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5 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

5 responses to “Guelph’s bogus budget baffles Council

  1. SW

    If the Library spent $560,000 more than budget in 2012 on compensation, where did they get the money?

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    “If you don’t know where you are, how do you know where you are going?” Apparently that phrase, attributed to the Mad Hatter, applies in spades to Guelph civic finances. Building a budget on a base of sand and then repeating the folly year after year is absolutely asinine. Are there no competent Chartered Accountants (CA’s) on staff in city hall who know and can practice the basics of financial budgeting? Is there not someone holding the title of CFO? Is there no one providing leadership? It is way past time for implementation of true Zero Based Budgeting. A house cleaning, following the dumping in the 2014 civic election of the members of council whose finger prints are all over the financial budget fiasco of the past decade, is in order. The citizens of Guelph can no longer afford rank incompetence.

  3. John

    Its becoming quite apparent that Guelph is not a place that private sector workers can afford to live. Even if the current mayor and council are removed during the next election the financial damage they have done to Guelph can’t be reversed any time soon. Better start looking for a another house in a fiscally responsible municipality.

  4. geo

    You have to start somewhere and voting out Her Royal Highness and Court is the obvious starting point.

  5. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    Ref.:”GUELPH TRIBUNE” Vol.27,No.102,19DEC2013;”GO service costs city fare penny”Was there ever any mention by Council of this “…$3.15million…” or some approximation thereof of what this choo-choo innovation was to cost the taxpaying public?
    david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

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