The city council and the London Free Press would like to have us believe that we will be fortunate if property taxes are increased by less than 7.3 per cent. Our expectations that we may keep some of our income are lowered both by the delegation of blame to provincial downloading and by the continuing inability of councillors to abandon any pet projects. Indeed, after an eleven hour budget session,
An exasperated [councillor Ab] Chahbar had argued at the meeting that council had accomplished "absolutely nothing" in that marathon session which saw a proposed 7.8-per-cent tax hike drop to 7.3 per cent.If we keep electing the same members of council, one could say that we have only ourselves to blame for a council that feels it has a justifiable mandate for the appropriation and disposal of taxpayer money as it wants. However, I think it more likely that Londoners are apathetic in the face of any credible alternatives to the current council, at least as receive mention in the local media. Therefore, special interest groups in London have a relatively free hand to vote in an unrepresentative council.
Londoners should be asking themselves if they are pleased at the prospect of yet another substantial increase in property taxes. Or, would they be pleased at the prospect of paying the same property taxes that they currently pay. I imagine most of us would breathe a sigh of relief at this time if the increase was only, say, 3 per cent … and turn to the entertainment pages. If, however, property taxes are used to fund expenses that have nothing at all to do with the service of property, would it not be reasonable for us to say "Stop!" and demand some of our money back? Or, in other words:
The words expressed in this proposal constitute more economic sense in one article than the London Free Press has published in the past decade. The London Fog does not typically endorse politicians of any stripe, but if, by the process of having special interests dominate and determine our own interests in municipal elections, an individual like Paul Van Meerbergen occasionally turns up, I think we should express our support. If we had more councillors like Mr. Van Meerbergen, we should have a more competitive and functional city.
And why are Londoners facing this spiral of spending and taxation?
Mr. Van Meerbergen proposes not a reduction in the property tax increase, but a reduction of $1000 per household in property tax from current levels by 2006 via
Paul Van Meerbergen's proposed amendments to the city's capital budget and operating budget can be found here at The London Fog:
a $104.6 million spending, taxation and borrowing cut to our $834 million 2005 budget. This will mean a 24% property tax reduction in the 2005 budget – assuming a net average property tax load of $2700.00 (without education taxes). These savings come from a reduction of $39.2 million from the current operating budget, $32.3 million dollars from the capital budget, and another $33.1 million from non-obligatory operating and capital reserve funds.
Capital Budget Amendments in PDF format
Operating Budget Amendments in PDF format
Paul Van Meerbergen is Councillor for Ward 7. Please email or call him to let him know what you think -- details of how he can be reached can be found here. The people of Ward 7 are fortunate to have this man as a representative, although it must be said that Susan Eagle is also their representative, so I guess no good deed goes unpunished.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Posted by MapMaster on Monday, January 24, 2005