Essex County administration wary of funding summer games
Report goes to council Wednesday night
Essex County Council administration says the City of Windsor's sudden request to help finance the 2014 Ontario Summer Games doesn't allow the county time to raise the money.
In a report to go before council Wednesday night, administration says, "the timing of this opportunity does not allow for prospective budget planning."
Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis appeared before county council last month and asked it pay for half the cost of hosting the games. He was looking for $636,000.
"Raising $636,000 as a specific line item in the 2014 county budget was considered and dismissed," the report reads. "Such provision would account for an approximate one per cent tax rate increase in and of itself."
"Given the circumstances we find ourselves in, admin was not of the mind that this was a prudent way to go, to put it all on the taxpayer," said county CAO Brian Gregg. "A one per cent raise on the tax rates ... we didn't believe was the way to go."
Gregg said administration looked for "creative ways" to come up with the money.
Administration instead made three recommendations to council, if it still wants to host the games.
The recommendations include:
- Draw the entire balance from the Corporation’s Rate Stabilization Reserve. (In 2011, a one-time provision of $350,000 was contributed to this reserve for economic development initiatives.)
- Draw approximately 50 per cent of the funds ($340,000) from the Rate Stabilization Reserve and raise the balance ($300,000) in 2014, creating a new source of funding in future years for similar requests.
- Borrow from the Corporation’s Capital Reserve, commence funding in 2014 in a yet-to-be-established annual increment and repay the balance over a number of years into the future.
- In its report, administration says "the purpose and use of the Rate Stabilization Reserve is twofold; to provide for emergency requirements and non-recurring expenditures, which do not represent permanent adjustments to fundamental service levels; and, to provide sufficient funds necessary to stabilize the County Levy during an operating cycle where significant non-budgeted fluctuations in demand for service occur (i.e. social assistance in a declining economy or unbudgeted winter control expenditures)."
Administration says the reserve is to manage "financial anomalies."
Gregg said there would be no effect on the county's bottom line if council chooses to use money from the reserve.
The report goes before council Wednesday night.