This post covers Administrative Costs, a seemingly catch-all department budget category that includes the costs of Council, Information Technology, Third Party Funding, as well as General Administration. There are a few surprises in my opinion regarding expenses I was not familiar with. While it’s easy to understand that the tax levy covers things like snow removal, By-Law Enforcement, and Council, it is interesting to see where money is spent in terms of funding to third parties such as the Health Unit, meeting AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act) requirements, social services as well as maintaining our public heritage buildings.
The costs here also include the travel expenses for Mayor and Council. It’s really not that much money when you consider what’s involved. If you are skeptical I suggest you attend council meetings for a year, prepare for the meetings by reading read the agenda packages, making notes on issues of concern. At that point you will have done about half the required work.
This covers Town Office staffing, facility operations and general administration. The net levy total makes little sense as any type of benchmark as the more general grants seem to be dumped into this budget category, creating a net positive. More interesting are the expenses which total $900,000.
This would include staffing, third-party contracts, leases and subscriptions necessary to automate the Town, including staff and website. I suspect it also covers the GPS related activities (wpgn.ca). It would be nice to see a little more detail for this quarter million dollar budget item.
Third Party Funding
This is an area of the budget with which I had very little familiarity. A fair potion of the Town’s budget, beyond the library and museum, is allocated to public health and social services.
This is another area of discovery for me. I suspect that more money needs to be spent with these buildings if we want them to last another hundred years. There is an expression, “demolition by neglect’. It’s the process of neglecting necessary repairs that lead to more major problems that undermine the building’s integrity. Leading to a point where demolition is the only cost effective solution, starting over with something new. And it’s pretty easy to get buy in for the use of public funds at that point. It’s a not uncommon ‘off the record’ public policy used with buildings, and even whole neighbourhoods.