Friday, April 1, 2005

Maybe now we can have a parade!

London is to receive further spoils from the province. The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund rears its ugly head:

A $13-million windfall from the province could take a big bite out of the property tax hit Londoners face this year. In fact, a new $656-million program announced yesterday by Premier Dalton McGuinty should ease the city's budget crunch at least for the next few years.

The money comes with no strings attached, meaning it can be used however the city sees fit, including to hold down taxes.

If applied solely to property tax relief, the money would reduce this year's 6.63-per-cent hike to 2.6 per cent.
I would hardly call the funding a 'windfall', as people who live in London also reside in Ontario: Londoners are paying for any tax cuts out of their own pockets. This is assuming also that most of the funds will be used to reduce taxes rather than squandered on an arts centre or other 'necessary' capital projects. The spending habits of the city brings to mind the massive projects undertaken by communist regimes - the people go hungry but the leaders look good.
DeCicco said tax relief is an option. "I think it's fair we should look at that as one of the considerations," she said [. . .]

"I think the plan will likely be to reduce the long-term tax pressure and the tax burden for taxpayers," Cote said, adding the decision is up to city council.

Cote said he'll present a number of options to the board, such as debt reduction or reopening the budget to apply it against the tax hike.

The city's beleaguered finance manager has struggled the last few years to keep the city's finances in order in the wake of massive capital spending by city council and downloading from the province [. . . ]

A surprised Gerry Macartney, general manager of London Chamber of Commerce, suggested the money be used to pay down debt, tax relief and infrastructure repairs, such as roads.

"But I would not encourage council to reopen the budget," Macartney said. "As soon as you do that, you get everyone lining up asking for a share."
And you don't think this is going to happen anyway? The recent city 'surplus' resulted in longer lines at the trough.