Simcoe County council considered a staff report today that attempted to present a further analysis of the financial implications of Bradford West Gwillimbury separating from the County. The report was a late addition to the agenda, sent to County council members Monday night.
In comparison with a high-level analysis provided by the Town of BWG at an April 15 meeting to discuss the province’s review of regional government, the county’s report suggests there will be no financial benefit for the town if it separates.
“The findings of the county report aren’t surprising,” stated Mayor Rob Keffer. “We knew there would be differences of opinion on various assumptions and that is why our council invited Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark and his advisors to work with us on assessing the implications of separated city status.”
“We do not agree with many aspects of the county’s analysis,” added Mayor Keffer. “For example, the report suggests that we will take on a $70M burden for planned improvements to county roads that will be transferred to the Town. The report fails to mention that the majority of those improvement costs will be funded through development charges, which have no impact on our taxpayers.”
“The report also assumes that a variety of new staff, facilities and other resources will be required by BWG if it becomes a separated city,” Mayor Keffer added. “Frankly, I don’t see that happening but – more importantly – any such decisions should and would be made by the council of the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, which is exactly why we seek the autonomy of separated city status.
Both the Town and County emphasize the need for an independent third-party to undertake a detailed financial analysis, unencumbered by political sensitivities.
“I will contact Minister Clark to, again, request that he work with us through this process,”says Mayor Keffer.