HawthorneVillager.com

Hawthorne Village (Milton) Discussion Board
It is currently Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:41 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 72 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: 2011 budget suggestions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:28 pm
Posts: 703
Location: Ex Milton(ian)
The budget meetings are scheduled for January 17 and 18. Councillors now have budget materials. We don't, but here are some early suggestions.

Capital:
- Eliminate main library expansion and town hall expansion from the long-term capital requirements. These big projects seem to take on a life of their own and, like the new main library and the culture centre, drift along under the public radar while driving capital requirements until the public is surprised by the construction.
- Eliminate the main library expansion altogether. If 30,000 sq. ft. (almost double Bruce Street) is TRULY not enough, add space at planned branch #2. Or #3. Or #4. At a much lower cost.
- Eliminate the $1 million plus upgrade to Bruce Street. Use it as-is temporarily if that is the decision, but don't waste money on an upgrade or take on more responsibilities by providing space to other agencies.
- Recover the $3 million from the Bruce Street property ASAP with the provision of space for a small library.
- Sell the leisure centre. Recover the capital and reduce the staff count. The town should not be competing with the private sector.
- Sell the Campbellville Lions Club hall before people line up with new uses and costs. The $3 million tennis club upgrade includes a new community centre.

Operating:
- Freeze staff salaries for at least a year which will give new councillors a chance to get control of spending and salary management procedures.
- Evaluate reserve funds. Does the lag in spending the $6 million from Mohawk not count as a tax contingency reserve?

Got any good ideas?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:55 pm
Posts: 5263
Location: 4th line / St Laurent
I agree with everything on that list except freezing salaries.
It makes the well written post lose credibility, and why would a town employee have any incentive to work towards the changes you want listed about if you're going to scrooge them too.

Salary increases are a small cost compared to the huge items you included above. Give them their COLA raises, encourage them to do a great job across the board, and work together to acheive your 7 other desires on the list. If all they get is a membership in the jelly of the month club, we might end up losing our best people.

Thoughts?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:28 pm
Posts: 703
Location: Ex Milton(ian)
I suggested that council consider freezing salaries for the following reasons:

- The Province froze salaries and suggested that municipalities consider the same. I think this is a strong signal that the economy will not recover soon, the Province will have little cash to support big-spending municipalities, and public sector salaries need to be reined in.

- There have been several published reports that estimate that public sector salaries are 10 to 20% higher than for equivilent jobs in the private sector. And that doesn't factor in public sector job security and benefits.

- The growth in the over-$100k lists has to be shocking even to the public sector itself.

- I believe salaries represent over 50% of the operating budget. The leverage is significant. I don't readily have these numbers. Perhaps someone can provide them.

- The Budget Call report noted that the municipal pension fund is under-funded and Milton would have to increase its contribution. That is an increase in compensation in itself. This issue is noted in the linked story in the following point.

- Other municipalities are considering a salary freeze. The new mayor of Burlington spoke of this in his inaugural speech and staff are already preparing a report. At the Budget Call meeting, the last Milton council ducked this issue and chose to focus on councillor salaries.
http://www.insidehalton.com/news/articl ... tightening

- I question whether Milton has an adeqate process for managing salaries - job levels, outside comparables, merit increase budgets, and COLA increases. A freeze would allow staff, perhaps with a Hay & Co consultant, to document the salary process for council review, and recommend on process changes and duration of the freeze.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:12 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:46 am
Posts: 4495
Location: Tothburg, Winter Cres.
Garlis I think we are simpatico on some of your thoughts on the library.

But on selling the leisure centre, I think that's premature at this point. Let's see what role YMCA ends up having in Milton. But I understand your viewpoint. The leisure centre has a gym (weight/cardio rooms). There are private gym's in Milton. Is the leisure centre's gym operating at a loss? What is the benefit to Milton residents of the town providing that type of service in competition with private gyms? But if you eliminate that component, would the lowered cost portion of the leisure centre decrease as much as the lowered revenue portion due to loss of gym membership fees?

With salaries councillors should be careful about expressing their viewpoints. But one thing to keep in mind is we're currently trying to do more with less. i.e. keep town staff from growing in headcount while the town population and services provided are increasing quickly. A salary freeze concurrent with hiring slow downs concurrent with increased service demand doesn't seem reasonable. The 3 in my mind don't go well together.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2006 11:28 pm
Posts: 703
Location: Ex Milton(ian)
If we wait longer to sell the leisure centre we may find that all the potential competitors, including the YMCA, have commited to establish their own facilities elsewhere in Milton. Not only should the town get a better price as a going concern, but staff could probably retain their jobs with a new owner.

Beware the profitability argument. There may be a positive cash flow but I very much doubt there is a profit if depreciation and shared overheads from the town hall staff are considered. Let alone a reasonable return on the capital employed.

But profitability is not the point. If it was, the town should open a McDonalds franchise in south Milton. The key question is whether the town is operating an essential service that wouldn't otherwise exist. Another question is whether the capital could be better used elsewhere. IMO the leisure centre loses on both counts and should be sold ASAP.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:36 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:06 am
Posts: 577
Location: Fifth Line (at Derry)
I just watched the last regional council meeting on their website. Regional Council gave a number of directions on the budget to staff - among them

Maximum approx 3% increase in taxes
Steps to reduce to 0% increase
Growth should pay for itself
Don't mortgage the future.

What a pity our own Council did not do the same earlier this year - how about the new Council adopting these and applying it to the budget papers they now have?

BTW Regional Staff have come up with a budget that freezes the Regional portion of taxes for the second successive year and delivers increased services in some instances all while coping with the same population growth.

Martin

_________________
Martin Capper

HVRA member

www.cappercares.ca
www.MartinCapper.com


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:28 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 3525
garlis wrote:
If we wait longer to sell the leisure centre we may find that all the potential competitors, including the YMCA, have commited to establish their own facilities elsewhere in Milton. Not only should the town get a better price as a going concern, but staff could probably retain their jobs with a new owner.

Beware the profitability argument. There may be a positive cash flow but I very much doubt there is a profit if depreciation and shared overheads from the town hall staff are considered. Let alone a reasonable return on the capital employed.

But profitability is not the point. If it was, the town should open a McDonalds franchise in south Milton. The key question is whether the town is operating an essential service that wouldn't otherwise exist. Another question is whether the capital could be better used elsewhere. IMO the leisure centre loses on both counts and should be sold ASAP.

I would personally hate to see the leisure center sold. In my opinion it is an essential service, even with increasing private institutions opening up in Milton. There is huge demand for pool services - I personally think we are short 2 or 3 public and private pools in Milton. Their programs are affordable, diverse and offer a recreational community service that would be unaffordable for most families.

Garlis, are you aware of any other towns/cities that have divested themselves of recreational facilities like the Leisure Center?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:07 am
Posts: 2074
Location: Milton
I think Garlis is more concerned with the "other" activities offered at the Centre. (ie - The gym)
While I don't agree with dumping the place in any fashion, if it is to be sold, I would hope there could be a way to "break it up" to allow the town to maintain control of the pool operations.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 3525
Except weight room/cardio facilities are a very small portion of the overall real-estate at the leisure center. The pool and gymnasiums are the largest total real-estate. The gymnasiums are used for excercise classes, kids sports and recreation of all sorts for all ages, rentals for parties, and are very multi-purpose. Even if a full service YMCA opened in town (which I would welcome - what a wonderful alternative to Premier) would they be able to provide anything close to the range of services that the town currently does through the leisure center? And, even if they would I suspect there would be good demand for both.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:19 pm
Posts: 2297
:shock: I see this selling the Leisure Centre is back again. Can anyone tell me of other towns that have a building like the Leisure centre that offers pools, gym, aerobics, weight room and party rooms THAT IS PRIVATELY owned and operated, for profit or not.

When this came up years ago, a counselor wanted to lease the Leisure Centre to the YMCA. YMCA said sure...but...the contract would say that the Town of Milton would be on the hook for any short fall in operating cost, Milton also had to pay for the upkeep of the building. So WHAT would be the point.

Any non-profit facility that offers what the Leisure Centre does is heavily subsidized. You just don't see what pocket it's coming out of.

When has any level of government proceeded with a cost saving idea that didn't come back and bite them in the ass...remember their ass IS OUR ASS.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:10 pm
Posts: 2288
Greenjp wrote:
:shock: I see this selling the Leisure Centre is back again. Can anyone tell me of other towns that have a building like the Leisure centre that offers pools, gym, aerobics, weight room and party rooms THAT IS PRIVATELY owned and operated, for profit or not.

I used to belong to this one when we lived in London: http://www.fitnessforum.ca/

Pool, weights, cardio, aerobic classes, yoga, spinning classes, hot tubs and saunas, a running track, and squash courts. And it was under $40 a month for all facilities except racquets, and under $50 a month including court privileges. !!

But Milton will never get anything like this as long as the leisure centre exists to suck at the taxpayer teat. Because what private facility will want to compete with a taxpayer subsidized one?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:27 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:07 am
Posts: 2074
Location: Milton
Mississauga runs 6 "fitness centres" in community centres around the city and 5 "Active Living Programs" at different locations.

http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/reside ... esscentres


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:43 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:19 pm
Posts: 2297
miltonLeo wrote:
Greenjp wrote:
:shock: I see this selling the Leisure Centre is back again. Can anyone tell me of other towns that have a building like the Leisure centre that offers pools, gym, aerobics, weight room and party rooms THAT IS PRIVATELY owned and operated, for profit or not.

I used to belong to this one when we lived in London: http://www.fitnessforum.ca/

Pool, weights, cardio, aerobic classes, yoga, spinning classes, hot tubs and saunas, a running track, and squash courts. And it was under $40 a month for all facilities except racquets, and under $50 a month including court privileges. !!

But Milton will never get anything like this as long as the leisure centre exists to suck at the taxpayer teat. Because what private facility will want to compete with a taxpayer subsidized one?
So you can afford 40, 50 bucks a month, what about those who can't. There are more that can't then those who can.

The Milton Leisure Centre has been operating for 20 yrs can you say the same for private centres. They have been known to take your money and disappear the next day.

Are you saying that London has no city run facilities?

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:46 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:10 pm
Posts: 2288
I'm not stating anything of the kind. I was simply answering a question which YOU asked which, to remind you, was:
Greenjp wrote:
Shocked I see this selling the Leisure Centre is back again. Can anyone tell me of other towns that have a building like the Leisure centre that offers pools, gym, aerobics, weight room and party rooms THAT IS PRIVATELY owned and operated, for profit or not.

I didn't realize you had a host of conditions attached to the question, but to clarify (1) the Fitness Forum has been in business at that location for 25 years so they're hardly taking money and disappearing the next day, and (2) there's a community pool about 2 blocks from its location (just a pool though; not a taxpayer funded wannabe ymca), and (3) the rates charged are competitive with those charged by the leisure center and I imagine the services, hours, and facilities are better.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:50 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 3525
The fitness forum, like most private health clubs offers the services at a monthly fee. The leisure center offers services on a pay as you go basis. If I want to take my little ones swimming on a drop-in basis I can. I can join an aerobics class with no strings. I can sign up my kids for a sports class or active program in one of the gymnasiums with no strings. My hubby likes their weight/cardio room because he can pay monthly, no yearly contracts.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 72 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.118s | 15 Queries | GZIP : Off ]