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.