Saturday, April 29, 2006

The summer of our discontent

"I don't think it's a fair message to tell our community we didn't do our job … the problem is created by provincial tax policy."
— London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco, quoted in the London Free Press, April 27
Today, the Free Press reports on how London's 2.95-turned-3.9 per cent property tax increase combined with 9.6 and 5 per cent increases in sewer and water rates respectively compare with three other similar-sized Ontario cities operating under the same provincial regulations:
If London council hikes property taxes 3.9 per cent, an owner of a home valued at $173,000 would pay $98 more in taxes and $50 more in water and sewer surcharges.

The total increase of $148 amounts to an overall hike of 5.9 per cent, well above three comparable cities. The percentages include water and sewer surcharges:
  • Windsor: 0.1% decrease (proposed)
  • Kitchener: 2.9% increase
  • Hamilton: 2.9% increase
Some on council want to reduce the tax increase below three per cent, but combined with water and sewer surcharges, the overall increase would still be nearly five per cent.
Reconcile DeCicco's excuse with your bank statement now. The Free Press article notes a bit of unintentional hilarity from controller Russ Monteith:
City hall should also study what's been done in Windsor, Kitchener and Hamilton. It's possible those cities have fewer demands or have neglected them, but it's also possible they have managed their finances better or for a longer period of time, Monteith said. "We should find out how they're doing it."
It has entirely escaped the attention of most councillors in London that their unrestrained spending bears an almost direct relation with increases in levies, with or without provincial regulations. Could it just be that councils in the other three cities have not quite forgotten that yet?

An anonymous commenter on a previous post puts the right snark on this ridiculous cluelessness:
Note to Russ Montieth...How long have you been on council? And it's only occuring to you now to reach out to your mumicipal neighbours and ask how they plan their finances? For FUCKSAKES! And as for working creatively why haven't you been doing that for the ENTIRE TIME you've been on council. What a goddamned charlatan. Same goes for Alder. He's a goddamned second or third termer, why the suddem impulse to "work hard" on controlling tax increases? Rob, you should have said no to some dubious projects and pork barreling of local activist groups in the previous years you've been on council you goddamned nitwit.

1 Comment:

Joe Molnar said...

Ontario should pass a law making it mandatory to take a Hazel McCallion course in municipal governing, while using London City council and Anne Marie and Gosnell
as an example of how NOT TO RUN a municipal body!