Council Candidate: If daycare cutbacks are up for discussion, other expenditures should be as well

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Ward Three city council candidate Matthew Shoemaker is challenging council to set out the City’s spending priorities in the wake of council’s decision to further defer a final decision on the fate of municipal daycare centres.

“While council still needs to decide whether the City of Sault Ste. Marie should run its own daycares, there is no disputing the value that affordable daycare provides to our community. Conversely, the city funds several initiatives with benefits that are very much in question. If cutbacks to municipal daycare are up for discussion, then the same should be true for many other expenditures,” said Shoemaker
“At some point, council will have to make hard decisions. It is not enough to ‘kick the can down the road’ and hope for tidy solutions to emerge in the future. It is unlikely there will be new provincial funding or a national daycare strategy in place by the time the committee finishes its work. Continued support for municipal daycare, even over an interim period, will require savings to be found elsewhere. The time to start looking is right now.”

“With the choice to form a committee, it is likely our municipal daycares will operate well into 2015. Both this council and the next will need a plan to address the impact on city finances. Balanced spending is a focus of my campaign. If elected, I will push for greater scrutiny of how city funds are distributed. A thorough spending review is needed to ensure reliable services and affordable property taxes.” Concluded Shoemaker, “Lastly, I would like to wish good luck to the incoming members of the committee. They have a challenge ahead, but I hope they can identify changes that will make municipal daycare sustainable.”

About Matthew Shoemaker: Matthew Shoemaker (B.A., LL.B) is a Ward Three candidate for Sault Ste. Marie city council. Shoemaker currently works as a lawyer with Wishart LLP. More information about his campaign is available at www.matthewshoemaker.ca.

1 COMMENT

  1. Matt,
    Good comments!
    On a personal note my experience of daycare comes through my grandson. He has been in daycare as part of a Sault College program at Prince Charles School for the last couple of years and I see that it has been of a positive benefit to him.
    In my opinion the decision of the council last night to refer this to a committee that brings all parties together including an invitation to David O is a progressive and forward step in coming to a workable solution.
    As an organizer in communications in the Sault Association of Ratepayers I found that by practising the formula steps “Identify, research,action and reassess” this coming together of stakeholders can and will yield positive results.

    You stated ” If cutbacks to municipal daycare are up for discussion, then the same should be true for many other expenditures”

    Exactly correct. The door is open for discussion. Let’s talk.

    Seeing that a 0% property tax increase has been achieved for 2014, what is the plan going forward for fiscal restraint towards discretionary spending needed within a zero tax environment?

    Mayor Amaroso said she believes next year’s budget will return to the “norm” with an increase and taxpayers shouldn’t be surprised to see that happen.

    Did we do ourselves any favours by having 0% property tax increase without taking the time into looking at what it will require to maintain fiscal levels for following years?

    If elected I would work to developed a ‘live within your means policy ‘’ as a council guideline for the next four years. My suggestion would be to further and improve the process’s of communication between the Finance Committee and the ratepayers of this community on a monthly basis.

    Ideally, if we are to move beyond the current preliminary budget input sessions and improve we should commit to holding monthly open interactive workshop meetings. This would allow us to go above and beyond the current method and work towards tax reduction in the future.

    Having no property tax increase is good but working within 0% property tax environment will not be easy without further due diligence and fiscal vigilance.

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