June 29 Brochure

The following is the text in our brochure which was distributed at the June 29 meeting on tax policy at SPC.  This copy contains links to our sources.

Click here for a detailed review of how we ended up in the mess.

In 2000, taxpayers outside the water-sewer area were given a 34% discount on the Town portion of their taxes. (There is no discount on the County or Education portion.) This was an arbitrary number based on a claim by a rural group that their taxes had gone up after amalgam­ation. No study was done to verify the claim. In 2011, the rural discount was reduced to 32%. The rural discount lowers overall taxes 8.9% in the rural area and raises overall taxes 8.1% in the urban area.

Q.  Is this fair?

A. We can’t think of any valid justify­cation an arbitrary discount. No other municipality in Ontario has a discount.

Q.  Is it even legal?

A.  Discounts are not permitted under Ontario law. Council recently received a legal opinion. No one is talking about it.

Q. How did we end up in this mess?

A. Maybe we’ll hear tonight.

Q. So, we’ll all pay the same in 2015, right?

A. Nope. On May 12, another taxing by-law was passed just like the others.

Q. Why are we here then?

A. Staff are now suggesting council impose a surcharge on taxpayers in the water-sewer area.

Q. Can they do this?

A. Surcharges are permitted for services which are provided in an identified area at a higher level than elsewhere and at an additional cost to the municipality. Other municipalities have small surcharges for things like sidewalks, street lights, transit. For example, Loyalist has only a 2% surcharge on Amherstview residents for transit.


Q. But didn’t MPAC state clearly at the last meeting that service levels are already recognized by the assessment process which is based on market value?

A. They did. And, council heard that.

Q. But, isn’t a special levy for the same services a form double taxation?

A. Exactly. Council heard that from the public at the MPAC meeting too.

Q. So what services do they propose to study?

A. No one has said. But last year staff proposed a study to support surcharges for things like policing, roads and fire service. Even “livestock kills”.

Q. Livestock kills?

A. That was one item on the list staff prepared for the proposed Service Delivery Review. The old council accepted it and called for tenders. When the new council saw the $45,600 quote from Watson & Assoc they unanimously cancelled it.

Q. If another study is done, can the result be trusted?

A.  A fact-based analysis of the costs of those services which are provided only in certain areas might help reach conclus­ions.  But, to be accepted and trusted by the public any study must be done with public input and access to data. And, as staff acknowledge, the extent to which different service levels are already recognized by assessment and user fees should be part of the study.


Q. And why study policing costs? Doesn’t the OPP bill us for policing by the household?

A. Yes. We are billed $519.74 for each of 7,363 households.


Q. And don’t residents on water-sewer already pay all capital and operating costs of the system?

A. They do – even the 95 households in Sandhurst Shores.

Q. What does the water-sewer boundary have to do with service levels for police, fire and roads?

A. Nothing. It’s just a convenient place to draw a line on a map. And even that line is messed up on Vanluven Road. Think of the squabbles if we had multiple lines for multiple services. Some services, such as sidewalks and street lighting end at a defined line. But services such as police, fire and roads don’t end or change at any line on a map.


Q. Will anybody trust the result?

A. King Solomon couldn’t answer this one. We predict that any study of service levels for police, fire or roads will be questioned and the divide in the community and on council will plague future generations.


Q. Aren’t there better things to spend $45,600 on?

A. Lots of them. We’ve even have a list. Visit our website and you can add to it. And, you can find links to our sources.


Q. Isn’t it time we stopped dithering and studying and just fix this mess now?

A. We think it’s time to act. There are other options to limit sudden changes, arrive at a tax policy that is fair to all and comply with Ontario law. Suggestions are on our website which could be implemented immediately.


Q. Wouldn’t it be a better use of staff resources to find ways to cut spending rather than studying ways to shift taxes from one group to another?

A. We think tax policy has been a huge distraction for staff from the important job of running our Town efficiently.

Q. What effect does this never-ending squabble about tax policy have on council?

A. We think we have 7 very capable people on council and we respect each of them. But we think the tax policy divide has resulted in many lost opportunities. Visit our website to see how the dispute over the PUC reserve fund has resulted in the waste of $1-million in interest on arena financing. Or, how turf wars have prevented the rational disposition of surplus properties.

Updates& Notifications in Your Email As They Happen.

Updates& Notifications in Your Email As They Happen.

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from the directors of the Napanee Rate Payers association.

You have Successfully Subscribed!