Debt is a trigger word in politics, and when we use it, we end up using it no different than how the average consumer talks about credit card debt. In business however, debt is a tool, among many, for growth. We cannot speak of a multi-million dollar corporation’s debt as if they are “in debt” but rather that they “have debt.” In good conscience none of us on council should be able to speak about Sarnia’s debt without giving this context. In reality, The City of Sarnia has $38 million in reserves, and $15.2 million in debt.
This is of course speaking about cash, and not even considering any of our assets which are hundreds of millions more. This means that the council should all together avoid language about our financial goals being about “debt reduction” and start talking about what the vision for the future is and what tools we are going to use to get there. If we do not want to use debt as a ‘tool’ then that is one thing, but treating the debt that we have as some sort of negative thing to avoid and get rid of is a recipe for a very dim future for Sarnia and will lead to extremely high tax increases in the future.