Taxpayer’s Voice Needed on Budget – Ray Smith

Thunder Bay City Hall in Winter
Thunder Bay City Hall in Winter

Thunder Bay – Letters – It’s budget time. Actually it’s budget time all year round, everytime council meets and makes a decision on how our tax dollars will be spent. An open public meeting to let other taxpayers voice their opinion on the 2023 budget has been organized by a group of concerned taxpayers on Saturday Jan. 14 at the Mary J L Library.

The meeting will start at 2pm but doors will open at 12 noon to let those in attendance complete a short questionnaire, receive handouts. and mingle with other concerned taxpayers.

All of the council as well as the city manager have been invited. Mayor Ken Boshcoff has already stated he will be in attendance. I will be chairing the meeting.

Each year during the month of January the administration tries to convince the taxpayers that they need to pay more, always coming up with excuses as to why. Council also scrambles to lower the tax increase during the budget process realizing some of their decisions actually cost money we don’t have.

The facts are Thunder Bay has one of the highest property taxes and tax rates in the province now and our municipal government costs are the highest in the province. Our water rates are the 6th highest in the province. The city’s total debt is 216 million dollars. The number of city workers on the sunshine list is 547 with an average salary of $127,000.

The Sunshine list is costing city taxpayers approximately $70 million dollars, again one of the highest per capita in the province. It should be pointed out that this is only about a quarter of the city’s workforce. (Thunder Bay employs approximately 2,200 people)

Many taxpayers have stated that the city’s payroll and staffing levels are out of control, like a runaway train.

City manager Norm Gale’s policies of tax and spend are failing miserably and his inability to control staffing levels is never more evident than now. That is why he is stating there is little wiggle in the 2023 budget and is recommending a 5.68 % tax increase blaming inflation and failing to mention the fat increase that he and upper management received in June that will cost city tax payers 1.1 million dollars

Some junior management staff will receive an additional increase of 8% on top of the 4% general increase that will cost taxpayers an additional $1.8 million when fully implemented by 2025.

A 4% increase would see Norm Gale’s salary increase to over $271,000 dollars.

We are expecting a large crowd at the meeting on Saturday so please come early and get a good seat.

Ray Smith

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