An event years in the making, the GO train finally returned to Guelph on December 19th, but it was not without some controversy. Still, 2011 demonstrated a dramatic leap forward in public transit for the City of Guelph. Guelph Transit announced new routes and schedules that will take effect on January 1st, summer cuts to service were repelled in budget deliberations and stat holiday service was restored for many holidays in 2011, and for the entire year in 2012. If some real progress could be made on finishing the transit hub, and if council could resist the urge to not increase transit prices on a yearly basis, we might be the closest we've ever been to a transit utopia. But perhaps true perfection is being left that one, small thing to complain about.
9. The Struggle to Balance Budgets
If you're feeling mathematically exhausted, it might be because this year had two budget processes in them. Whether the 2011 budget deliberations last winter or the 2012 discussions last month, the City struggled with balancing spending, maintaining services and keep tax increases, if tax increases were necessary, as low as possible. In the process some odd sorts of financial arrangements have been made or attempted. Among them the approval of borrowing from the City's savings in order to cover operational costs for the 2011 budget and the proposal to sell the City's street lamps to Guelph Hydro to cut costs in the 2012 budget. For both years, some trimming here and some new spending there has meant a rather steady increase of three per cent per year, and all the while the debate rages: do we pay too much in tax as compared to our municipal neighbours, or too little? I guess we will see what wonders awaits when we hit the ledgers for 2013.