Posted September 6, 2015
When looking at what other cities’ 2015 property tax increases compared to Guelph, we have the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of in the 14-city sample. There are several reasons for this as Guelph council continues to ignore the growth of its staff, in numbers and pay and benefits. The future liabilities associated with these increases will affect future councils for years to come as pensions are indexed to the Consumer Price Index.
To meet these staff obigations will result in Guelph taxpayers facing increased property taxes paying the costs of employees, active and retired. Today an estimated 85 percent of all property taxes received by the city are used to pay the staff payroll costs.
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 Differeence
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 1.9% 7 Minus 2.06 %
Windsor 0% 0 Minus 3.96 %
Consumer Price Index 2014 2.1%
Note A – Guelph council in 2013 and 2014 shifted the tax burden from multi- residential and industrial to residential. Some 84 per cent of property taxes originate from the residentials sector.
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 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!
Why 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 know?
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.
It’s like, why bother even having an election?
In eight years, citizens have experienced a bloated staff of more than 2,100 employees, up from 1,400 in 2007; 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 $70 million and fails to serve 6,000 households.
Then along came the Urbacon blunder costing an estimated $65,069,755 or $23 million over the original contract cost.
That’s our money, gone in a puff of smoke.
The 2015 budget was nothing more than a power move by the Farbridge supporters still on council, aided and abetted by senior staffers. Some 21 new full time staffers were added in the budget on the recommendation of senior staff.
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 replenishing the reserves at a rate of $900,000 a year. Well, the truth escaped her in this pre-election statement.
The cash reserves are from the residents through their property taxes. For Ms. Pappert to claim it won’t impact property taxes. her statement is far removed from reality. The Urbacob lawsuit losess could possibly impact property taxes for the next ten years.
But wait! Council, by a nine to four margin, voted to reduce the $900,000 annual repayment plan to $500,000 this year and have the staff come up with a new repayment plan. These are the same people, elected and some 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 living in Guelph will suffer because the soaring costs inflicted by this and previous administrations, has already made our city one of the most expensive in which to live in the country.
This public meeting is about your right to participate in civic elections
On Thursday, September 10 at 5:30 p.m. citizens should gather at city hall to send a message that this administraion cannot countenance harassing citizens who opposed the Farbridge handling of city business in the last eight years.
The meeting is about a misuse of power by an individual to thwart public participation in municipal affairs, specifically elections. Public money has been used to prevent the people to assemble, speak out and participate in municipal elections without fear of reprisal.
Guelphspeaks will be there. The GrassRoots Guelph response to the Compliance Audit Committee’s independent audit report.has already presented. It stated that the auditor found no major irregularities in the candidacy of Glen Tolhurst or the $400 donation he received from GrassRoots Guelph.