Crunching the numbers: County counters BWG's costs to separate
Published Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:35PM EDT
The County of Simcoe responded to Bradford West Gwillimbury's pursuit of separate city status with dollars and cents that contradict a report previously submitted by the town.
The county's report suggests separating would come at a significant cost to residents.
Simcoe County Warden George Cornell says the Bradford report claims its residents will save five-million-dollars a year if they separate from the county. But the warden says that just doesn't add up. "Our report clearly stated that there wouldn't be savings, and in fact, it would cost the Town of Bradford, and therefore the citizens of Bradford."
Mayor Rob Keffer says that the county’s findings aren’t surprising. “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.”
The county's report states that BWG residents "would instead shoulder greater future financial risk as a small city and greatly increased infrastructure capital costs in their asset plans in the amount of $70-million in planned Roads Capital infrastructure over the next 10 years."
But Keffer says those numbers are misleading. “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.”
Figures from the county challenged several items in the town's report that was submitted on April 15.
Warden Cornell says it would benefit everyone in the county to stay as one. "A larger municipality, with a 16 member municipality, it provides us with economies of scale that we can leverage the costs of providing these services over a wider base which reduces the unit costs of the per-resident cost." Cornell goes on to say that if it were to separate, Bradford would risk residents having to absorb those costs.
But the town isn't throwing in the towel. Bradford officials are calling for an independent review of the figures supplied by both the town and the county.
The province will make the final decision, perhaps by fall.