The Letter Box

How Guelph fleeces the taxpayer

Dear Editor:

If you spend too much time on a merry-go-round the dizzying combination of vertical motion of riding the white charger and the rotating motion of the ride, not only do you get dizzy but you also lose focus on reality. This seems to be the only explanation of recent moves by city staff in presenting two reports to council. The reports, which pertain to a 2% levy to fund infrastructure and a move to fund storm water management by a user fee, both have more money being sucked from the taxpayer’s wallet.

The first report supports the imposition of a 2% levy for infrastructure funding that will be folded into the base property tax each year and compound for 10 years. Such compounding of a 2% levy yields 21.9% in the tenth year. Thus, if you have a current property tax of $5,000, in year ten you will be paying an extra $1095 as well as having paid the yearly compounded increments since year one.

This is in addition to the annual property tax increases over that period, which also roll into the base and compound. Thus with a 3% annual tax increase (for 2016 it is 2.99%) and the 2% levy, over 10 years that 5% annual increase compounds to a 63% increase, which on a $5,000 current assessment is a $3,144 increase to a total of $8,144, in addition to the yearly compounded increases since year one.

The second report recommends changing funding of storm water management from the current property tax supported method to a user fee regime. There are 2 problem areas with this concept that will adversely impact the taxpayers. First, this program requires the building of a bureaucracy to administer it.

Already, the city has too many Full-Time Employees (FTE) for its size, with the rate of growth of FTE’s repeatedly outstripping the growth of population.

Secondly, there is no mechanism in the annual budgeting process to ensure that the portion of the annual tax currently allocated for storm water management is not filled by frivolous tax and spend city staff foisting some dubious new “want” on a gullible council.

The perceived need for these two new assaults on taxpayer wallets is clearly due to the ongoing incompetence of the previous councils and city staff over the past 15 years to properly fund these infrastructure areas.

Glen N. Tolhurst

Guelph

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