In his letter, Mr. Romanko suggests that my comparison of Kawartha Lakes to Sudbury is flawed because I did not analyze population size, and if I had done so, all could be explained by the ratio of citizens to city employees.
He goes on to point out correctly that Sudbury, at the present time, has a higher ratio of citizens to employees than Kawartha Lakes does (Sudbury 74 citizens for every employee, and Kawartha Lakes 64 citizens for every employee).
Mr. Romanko would have us believe that if we have double the population we should have double the employees.
In 2001, when the City of Greater Sudbury was formed, the population was 155,219 and the city had approximately 1,800 employees or a ratio of 86 to 1.
In 2011, the city had a population of 160,270, or an increase of 5,051 citizens, and the city now has 2,166 employees or a ratio of 74 to 1.
At this rate, the next 5,051 people to move to Sudbury would increase the employee numbers to 2,532, for a ratio of 65 employees to for every one citizen.
Mr. Romanko might want to look at a straight line comparison of house values and taxes, for Sudbury, Kawartha Lakes and Toronto, and their respective ratio of employees to citizens.
For example, if you owned a house valued at $300,000 in Toronto which has 2.6 million citizens and a ratio of one employee per 49 citizens, you would be paying $1,685 per year in taxes.
In Kawartha Lakes, with a ratio of one employee per 64 citizens, you would be paying $3,205 per year in taxes. In Greater Sudbury, with a ratio of one employee per 74 citizens, you would be paying $4,674 per year in taxes.
Regardless of what the ratio of employees to citizens is, Greater Sudbury has a problem with regards to the value the taxpayers receive verses the number of tax dollars which are spent.
This brings me to the reason for comparing Kawartha Lakes to Sudbury.
It was to try to provide some context to dispel the notion which has been put forth repeatedly by politicians and senior staff ever since amalgamation that the reason that the city of Greater Sudbury has high taxes, poor roads, and a large work force is because “we are a small population spread over a large geographic area, and as a result the cost to deliver services is higher.”
My comparison was focused on land mass and population density to point out that we are not the only area with a large land mass and a sparse population base, as some politicians and staff would have us believe.
So, another comparably large land mass-based municipality (Kawartha Lakes), with a smaller population, is able to provide services to virtually the same size geographic area with a smaller work force, more efficiently and I asked the question why we can’t do the same.
In the final analysis, it is not the geographic size or population density or ratio of employees to citizens, it’s the efficient, cost-effective delivery of services for every tax dollar spent that matters.
Unfortunately as it stands right now, the City of Greater Sudbury is better at making excuses than delivering value for the taxes we pay.
Greater Sudbury Taxpayers’ Association chair