Puslinch Township Council:
Mayor Dennis Lever and Township Councillors Wayne Stokley, Matthew Bulmer, Susan
Fielding, and Ken Roth
First we would like to thank you for your commitment to transparency and for providing
us the taxpayers the opportunity to have some input into the budget. Also thank you to
Paul for his presentation on the budget. It is never easy to keep calm in the face of
adversity… facing the firing squad so to speak, answering the questions of all that came
to the meeting and were clearly upset.
Second we would like to make it abundantly clear that we are opposed to the current
purposed budget and we ask that council review the budget and make cuts to reflect a
ZERO increase to property tax for the township portion.
We also agree with many of the points brought up by residents at the meeting on
Thursday January 21st:
- The township budget should reflect “Needs” first and only address “Wants” if
there is extra capital to pay for it without increasing taxes.
- The township has a spending problem. As we do not have a balanced budget
and continue to go into debt each year.
- Taxes should only increase if absolutely necessary and more at a level reflected
by inflation. As we all already see an increase in valuations of our homes and
properties via MPAC and this should be the only increase we see.
- Fixed income seniors, families and all households are already hurting from
increases in household costs from Hydro, Food, Insurances, Utilities etc. another
increase in our taxes may cripple some households and may lead residents to
relocate to other communities with far lesser taxes and more services to show for
- Increased tax rates will not be appealing to new industry/business or new
residents looking to re-locate here.
- Larger projects and spending needs should be reviewed to see if there are ways
to “trim the fat” – whether it is out sourcing man power, buying used (fire
equipment), shopping around for the best pricing for needed projects and
maybe scaling back projects to only what is needed. Also looking to provincial
and or federal funding to help with these costs.
- Concerns over our debt carrying over the next 20 plus years and what are we
putting in reserves for our emergency funds.
We would like to add some perspective from a small business owner. We own and
operate a residential and commercial cleaning business as well as a print brokerage in
the township of Puslinch and surrounding area. We believe that running the township is
much like running a business. The township is responsible for keeping their clients
happy by providing excellent services at fair and reasonable pricing. A township like a
business has to weigh out the importance of service and the cost of providing said
service. However if a township or business is not providing more or better services but
expects higher remuneration, then they should expect some very unhappy customers –
and unhappy customers look to go elsewhere.
So how does a successful business balance this? Within both of our businesses we
have not had to increase our pricing to our clients in over 6 years on the contrary we
have found efficiencies within our business that we have been able to offer discounts
and reduced fees. How did we do that? The answer is two fold – reduce costs and
increase income. As our business grew our buying power increased – so we were able
to buy our supplies at lower costs and we shopped around having our suppliers
compete for our business. With more clients our overhead costs went down as they are
now spread out over more clients. Our staff are always looking for ways to do their job
more efficiently and we reward them for it and pass the savings onto our clients. We
advertised within our budget, expanded our service area and continued to offer great
service at competitive prices and therefore our clients spread the word, and so we grew.
If council employed this train of thought to running and budgeting for the township we
could easily expand and thrive in this community and eventually have the money for the
wants and niceties.
We believe the one thing council hasn’t looked at is how can we increase our capital
without increasing taxes? We know that it was said at the meeting that council is
looking into enticing new commercial industry. We would like to know exactly how and
what council is doing to accomplish this. We did not hear how council is enticing new
residents and what the plan for residential expansion is. Maybe look at the bylaws that
currently only allow property owners to split off lots every 5 years – and consider
reducing this to every 2 years. Maybe look into allowing for more residential
development such as the Aberfoyle Mill Community – that would be considered slightly
more affordable then the estate development communities.
We hope council considers our suggestions, and takes a good look at changing the
budget on Feb 3rd.
Ron & Tanya Tagwerker