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LETTER: City budget increase ‘excessive and unreasonable’

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Dear Editor:

Re: What you need to know as the City’s 2024 budget discussions begin

A proposed Sarnia budget increase of 8% seems excessive and unreasonable. Undoubtedly, the excessive police budget increase of 11.5% is contributing to this.

I agree with that mayor that restraint is required.

Some other specific concerns include increasing water and sewer rates excessively again – this time by 7%.

The capital budget is increasing excessively again – this time by about 8%, after discounting outside revenue. When will these excessive increases end?

It is also proposed to add 7.5 full-time equivalent positions. Are these additional positions really critical to have or nice to have? Council should instruct staff, as part of the annual budget process, to investigate potential savings in all departments that includes variable and – yes – fixed costs.

Private businesses, and now even the Government of Canada, need to do this spending reduction review. This type of review can create a sustainable and responsible service organization instead of one that becomes complacent, inefficient, and always just conveniently addicted to taxpayers’ funding to bail them out.

Mr. Bradley now has strong-mayor powers which I believe can be used to deal with disproportionate, unreasonable spending resulting in unreasonable tax and utility service rate increases.

The mayor just needs to be politically brave and follow his belief on needing to be balanced and responsible. Come next election, the electorate will remember those to be rewarded and those to be served with notice of termination.

Manuel Marta

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