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The $30 Million Dollar Election Question

October 10, 2010

Is Whitchurch Stouffville facing out of control debt, as some election candidates insist, or are we merely reaping the benefits of aggressive yet sensible fiscal spending?

To find out what is really going on, we did some digging at Stouffville Connects. What we found surpassed our own understanding and estimates of how money has been spent in Town over the past four years.

As it turns out, this election should really hinge on a single, $30 million dollar question. To understand why, you need to arm yourself with a few facts:

  • In 2004 a Watson & Associates study estimated that based on projected growth, Whitchurch Stouffville could afford to spend $12,525,500 on four main capital projects, plus another $7,910,400 on Main Street improvements, to support its 5-year business plan. (We have separated out the Main Street numbers as we do not have the final tender amounts for comparison.)
  • The numbers for the four projects were revised upwards to $27,056,886 in 2007.
  • In 2009 the Town awarded $41,527,752 in contracts to complete those four same projects.
  • When you add on the cost of Main Street improvements as well as the purchase and renovation of the Cook Canada building, the numbers rise to roughly $60,000,000 in capital project spending.
  • As a result of this capital spending, the Town is currently $37.2 million in debt.
  • Most importantly, if spending continues based on the 5-year business plan approved by the last council, another $30 million dollars will be needed over the next four years. If this happens, we can expect to see the Town's debt rise to $67.2 million during the next term of council.

At Stouffville Connects we suggest that you ask a simple, "$30 million dollar question" of the candidates on your ballot: if elected, where will you stand on the next phase of the Town's fiscal infrastructure spending plan?

Food for thought:

"If the Town wished to maintain the previously recommended 3% annual tax rate increase and a maximum debt capacity limit of 10.9% approximately $15 million in capital needs would have to be deferred outside of the forecast period (i.e. post-2014) or additional funding would have to be achieved from non-tax based sources."
Watson & Associates Economists Ltd., Report to Council, November 19, 2009

Meet the candidates

You can learn more about the candidates' positions on key election issues by visiting mayoral and  of speeches and answers to questions at the All Candidates meeting as well as

Think tattoo's don't have cultural significance? Culture Days, taking place Sept. 24 to 26 throughout Whitchurch-Stouffville, will definitely make you think again.

Culture Days is a Canadawide celebration inspired by the 13-year success of Quebec’s annual Journees de la culture and Alberta Arts Days, which launched three years ago. Culture Days is a collaborative volunteer movement created to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement by all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.

During three days each September, participating cultural groups and municipalities are encouraged to provide opportunities, free of charge, for the public to learn more about their particular cultural activity.

Among those participating in Whitchurch-Stouffville’s three-day event is the Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library, Latcham Gallery and the Whitchurch-Stouffville Museum.

The Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment - Nineteen on the Park is hosting a Macedonian film festival Sept. 24. "Just Arrived", directed by Sandra Danilovic and "Soulmates", directed by Mairja Makeska will be screened. Both directors will be present at the screenings and available to answer questions.

On Sept. 25, Motus O’s Cynthia Croker will lead people in a flash mob-training workshop at Nineteen on the Park. On Sunday afternoon, the Red Bulb Cafe will host a coffee culture workshop. And last but not least, Main Street’s tattoo studio – Depression Ink – will open its doors to anyone interested in learning more about tattoos.

If you have ever wanted to explore the cultural and artistic side of Stouffville now is your chance. Get out and experience all of the uniqueness and creativity that Stouffville has to offer!

(See the Stouffville Connects event calendar for more information)

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