Fiscal Responsibility - What is it? What have I done so far?
Fiscal Responsibility is one of those terms that many people speak about, but few have specific definitions or examples of how they’ll deliver after election day.
In 2014, I spoke about managing our tax dollars better, which is, in my opinion, one of the key elements to fiscal responsibility. One of the other key aspects is spending control, so I’d like to beg your indulgence for a few prime examples of how I have in many cases led and collaborated with colleagues to deliver improved fiscal responsibility.
Managing Your Money Better
Using my 25 years of finance experience, I championed improvements to our investment management that have resulted in $700,000 in increased annual earnings. That is $700,000 that enables us to build and update more parks, invest in the arts and refurbish senior centres like Dogwood Pavilion WITHOUT increasing taxes.
Projects like the Mundy Park Greenway
This improvement was completed without increasing your taxes! Watch the video to learn more!
Improved utilization of investments, again I championed the use of our land sale reserve funds in a different manner to enable them to grow for the future, while delivering some much needed services today. In two years, we have identified $9 million to enable projects like the Mundy Park Greenway improvements (new sidewalks, and multi use paths); the Neighbourhood Blitz – a program in which we improve accessibility to sidewalks for seniors, parents with strollers and those in need of mobility devices, additionally, we repaint light posts and generally show the pride of ownership that so many of our residents do with their own homes.
Other projects like washrooms for public parks and the expansion of the Coquitlam Crunch are enabled through this program and avoid the additional tax increase of more than 4% that would be needed in this year alone.
The budget process is incredibly detailed and diligent. I have championed the use of information gathered from the Municipal Auditor General reports to better review our expenditures and we are beginning to see these best practises implemented.
We recently received recognition from the Canadian Federation of Business, a group that is highly critical of municipal spending and taxation, acknowledging progress in two key areas
1) Reduction in spending per capita in a year over year comparison, placing 4th out of the 20 largest municipalities and 25th out of 152 cities with a real spending growth of only .6%
2) Reduction in the disparity between residential and commercial tax rates that had been built from actions 20 years ago.
In a nutshell
We’re heading in the right direction. When you combine these facts, with a recent trend of tax rate increases decreasing year over year, it speaks to some very strong financial principals that have been developed and that I continue to reinforce and help drive improvement.
In this election, you’ll hear people talk about fiscal responsibility, please take a moment to ask for concrete examples of what they’d do beyond call for change.