Posted April 19, 2015
When looking at what other citys’ 2015 tax increases were in their budgets compared to Guelph, we have the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of all in the 14-city sample.
First, the research on this report employed a common benchmark of dollars per $100,000 of assessment. This allowed equalized comparisons with two-tier muncipalities such as Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge part of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo.
The report was researched from official public sources.
Here is the list in descending order:
City 2015 tax increase Ranking Difference
Guelph Budget 3.55% 39
Guelph revised – Note A 3.96% 44
Hamilton – Note B 2.70% 35 Minus 1.26 %
London 2.50% 30 Minus 1.46 %
Brampton 2.54% 24 Minus 1.42 %
Brantford 1.88% 22 Minus 2.08 %
Port Colborne 1.10% 18 Minus 2.86 %
Burlington 2.06% 18 Minus 1.90 %
Oakville 1.70% 15 Minus 2.26 %
Mississauga 2.20% 12 Minus 1.76 %
Cambridge 2.72% 10 Minus 1.25 %
Toronto – Note C 3.20% 10 Minus .76 %
Waterloo 1.53% 7 Minus 2.43 %
Kitchener 1.90% 7 Minus 2.06 %
Windsor 0% 0 Minus 3.96 %
Consumer Price Index 2.1%
Note A – Guelph council in 2013 and 2014 shifted the tax burden from multi- residential and industrial to residential. The revised increase does not include the mandated increase in assessment nor the 4.1 per cent increase in water services.
Note B – Hamilton’s tax increases were below the rate of inflation for the past three years.
Note C – Toronto’s increase includes a .50 per cent surcharge to fund a subway extension to Scarborough.
Comparing the Guelph revised rate of 3.96 per cent to the next highest on the list, Hamilton, at 2.70 per cent, the difference is an astounding 31.8 per cent!
What is it that all these municipalities have much lower 2015 tax increases than the City of Guelph? Collectively, what do they know that the Guelph administration doesn’t?
Reading this report, management of the City of Guelph, when compared to 13 other cities, proves there is a very serious problem in terms of performance including accountability. It is a hangover from the previous administration that manipulated the city’s treasury to suit its own projects and plans and change the way our city, in a manner that citizens rejected last October.
And now we are paying for the mistakes and mismanagement.
In eight years, we have a bloated staff of more than 2,100 employees, more than $132 million of debt, a 40 per cent compounded increase in property taxes, a 77 per cent increase in water rates, despite a reduction in usage. Plus a waste management system that has cost taxpayers more than an estimated $70 million and fails to serve 6,400 households.
Then along came the Urbacon blunder costing an estimated $21 million. If any of these figures are incorrect then why doesn’t the city administration release the true costs?
The 2015 budget was nothing more than a power move by the Farbridge supporters still on council, aided and abetted by senior staffers.
Remember, this is the budget where previously CAO Ann Pappert said the Urbacon settlement will not impact property taxes. Because the funds would come from three unrelated reserves and will be paid back in five years repaying the reserves at a rate of $900,000 a year. Well, the truth eascaped her in this pre- election statement.
Council, by a nine to four margin, voted to lower that figure to $500,000 this year and have the staff come up with a new repayment plan, These are same people, elected and some of those on staff, who were responsible for the Urbacon mess in the first place.
Which only proves they know how to spend the people’s money but fail to administer it in a responsible and productive way.
Those iving in Guelph will suffer because the soaring costs inflicted by this and previous administration’s, has already made our city one of the most expensive in which to live in the country.