THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is continuing to urge City Council to implement cost controls. The Chamber in a statement issued on Monday say “And they should start that process immediately to find internal cost savings to offset the projected $5.73 million budget overage”.
“In recent months, businesses and residents have also been challenged by the increased cost of snow removal, hydro, and gasoline, in addition to rising water, waste water, and landfill rates,” said Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson. “As a result, business owners have looked internally for ways to reduce operating costs and improve efficiency in order to maintain profitability and residents have had to pare down household budgets to live within their means”.
At City Hall on Monday night, Council and the Mayor all were speaking out against a tax increase.
Councillor Paul Pugh commented that the city has reserve funds. “Tonight we had another piece dropped on us, the $400,000 gas tax, that we were expecting”.
Pugh said, “I don’t believe we can overcome the shortfalls, like the gas tax, and I don’t think we can continue to cut into services. There is a limit to that, before we start hurting people”.
The McKellar Ward Councillor suggested that maybe Council had to cut back, and perhaps look at increasing taxes. “Some of these things are not temporary, some are permanent”.
Chamber President Charla Robinson said, “Our analysis indicates that there is room for cost savings, showing that costs are higher in 20 of 27 expense categories when compared to other Ontario communities. We know that these are tough decisions and offer our support to Council as they explore all options to reduce operating costs to meet this financial challenge; however, the Chamber will not support an additional increase in the 2014 tax levy.”
The Chamber has often encouraged City Council to take steps to reduce non-core business activities, streamline operations and become more efficient to make our community more competitive.