Sayne unhappy with budget
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | March 1, 2018
Coun. Pam Sayne criticized Minden Hills council for decisions she says led to an 8.61 per cent tax rate increase.
But, Deputy Mayor Cheryl Murdoch said it’s the price people have to pay for the services they want. And, taxpayer Jim Mitchell was left scratching his head as to why Dysart has a 1.5 per cent increase, while Minden will endorse a more than 8.5 per cent jump at its next meeting.
Coun. Ron Nesbitt, meanwhile, chimed in to say he wasn’t happy either, although Murdoch also had a point. At a council meeting Last Thursday (Feb. 22) a fourth draft budget was discussed. There’s growth of .9 per cent to raise additional money needed, but the rest is coming on the backs of existing ratepayers, and does not include school board and County of Haliburton taxation.
What you’ll pay will depend on the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation evaluation of your home, but treasuer Lorrie Blanchard said a mid-range three per cent increase in “phased-in” assessment would result in a $68.90 increase in taxes, or approximately $5.75 per month, and a five per cent increase in “phased-in” assessment would result in a $86.60 increase in taxes, or approximately $7.20 per month. Water and sewer rates are not increasing. During a public meeting, Mitchell, of Canning Lake, said he woke up to hear Dysart Mayor Murray Fearrey on the radio and asked council what the difference was “because they’re looking at 1.5 per cent and we’re at 8.5 per cent.” Blanchard said she had “no idea.”
“Roads, landfill are the two big ones,” she said of 2018 spending. Sayne prefaced her remarks by saying she was offering the “minority” perspective. “We have a large increase. I don’t think it is good for our community.”
She went on to say some council decisions, which she was a part of, both in public, and behind closed doors, had led council to this point. For example, she said they chose to take $1.9 million from reserves to build the new fire hall on Highway 35, versus borrowing money and paying it off over time. She also touched on council going over budget by almost a quarter million dollars on the affordable housing complex near the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena.
She said they could buy one new tandem truck every second year, instead of annually. With .9 per cent growth but taxes of nearly nine per cent, potential businesses won’t come to Minden, but might opt for Dysart, she added. The budget further creates a larger split between the haves and have nots, with people paying 30 per cent and more towards household costs, in her opinion.
Climate change hadn’t been considered in the budget either, she complaind, in a year when the township has seen its flood premium double to $100,000, from $50,000. Murdoch shot back that it would be nice if the township had more help from the upper tiers of government so they didn’t have to look to taxpayers to pay for services. “We’re looking at major things here. Everbody uses the roads and we have to bring Scotch Line [the landfill] up to par.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.