In 2014 I was re-elected to City Council on a platform of lower taxes. During my term of Council and as the Chair of Budgets and Finance, I worked diligently to bring taxes down from a potential high of 6-7% as indicated by a study commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce, to a more sustainable level of around 2.4% through:
- Respectful questioning of administration
- A more comprehensive budget process that includes public consultation
- A line-by-line review of budget items
- Continuous improvement practices (doing things better and working smarter to find efficiencies)
- Cost controls
- Risk management
This was accomplished with the help of Council, administration and
our city employees, while
maintaining services (we actually increased them through the addition of an ambulance and 7 paramedics, a Mini Lift bus for seniors with mobility issues and a pothole machine)
and increasing our
investment in infrastructure, like roads and storm sewers to prevent floods in Northwood, Intercity and the East End.
Losses in the Industrial Tax Base and the Need for Internal Savings
During the last five years, the City of Thunder Bay also saw its tax
revenues reduced by $23 million due to successful reassessment by
Resolute, Grain elevators and Canadian Tire after the recession of 2008.
This has resulted in the loss of most of the industrial tax base and
the need to find internal savings through operational reviews, which has resulted in $12.5 million in savings over the last five years.
To maintain low taxes while continue our investment in needed services and infrastructure like roads, we need to spend wisely and speed up our growth potential as a city. We have done it before and we can do it again!
We can do this by creating a positive climate for new investment;
helping local businesses expand and grow by reducing red tape and
During the election campaign period, I will be providing more details on my
plan to revitalize Thunder Bay.