Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Save the twelve dollars, you're going to need it

City council last night declined to re-open the 2006 budget and left London homeowners holding the bill for a 3.9 per cent increase in property taxes. As an incentive to remain calm during an election year, however, the London Free Press reports that council did pass a motion for

a review of water and sewer rates aimed at shifting the costs of water and sewer services from homeowners to industrial, commercial and institutional users.
This would provide some measure of relief to homeowners from the overall five per cent increase in municipal charges that include 9.6 and 5 per cent hikes for sewer and water rates respectively — the Free Press estimates "about $12 or the equivalent of a half per cent tax reduction." Like council's attempt in January to shift more of the tax burden to commercial properties that was ultimately obstructed by provincial regulations (of which administration had been perfectly aware back in January), any minor relief for homeowners should not be understood as a dabbling with the idea of fiscal restraint on the part of council but as a financial redistribution from one political interest to another — as though businesses do not pass along those costs through higher prices, lower wages, or reduced investment. Such redistributions are meant to succeed by drawing the attention of a broad class of voters to a relief of which the city may be seen as the immediate agent — while the costs to those same voters are neither seen immediately nor directly attributed to the city's actions. In an election year, however, the strategy is particularly compelling. But these budgetary games do nothing to address the source of concerns for homeowners and business alike — the unbridled spending of London's administration over the past few years.
A vocal minority opposed adjustments to water rates, preferring instead to reopen the 2006 budget to shift money from debt relief to tax relief.

[…] "You don't borrow from the future to pay for today," London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said. "We could do it. I know it would be popular."
This from the head of an adminstration that pats itself on the back for a fiscal discipline program of capping new debt for capital projects at $30 million a year. Just imagine if DeCicco wasn't so committed to fiscal discipline…


Lisa Turner said...

I cannot afford to attend the events at the JLC and the iron bars surrounding the Reading garden at Central Library do little to prevent creeps from entering through the main doors. My $12 and counting would be better spent on bread.

Anonymous said...

When I wrote to the mayor about the budget surplus last year I asked for City Council to consider lowering or at least keeping this years budget increase to $0. She wrote back

"I am in receipt of your email. I appreciate your position, and Council strives to keep taxes reasonable. I would clarify one important point on the surplus. By using those dollars this year to decrease the budget means taxes start higher in the next budget because you aren’t cutting expenses. That is truly the way to reduce taxes."

I had only one thing to say to this and that is reduce expenses, to which I had no response.

It's like they don't even care that London's taxes are simply unreasonable. I offically cannot afford to live within the city limits anymore and my family and I are moving on out. Less than 5 years after buying our first home in London our taxes have MORE THAN DOUBLED, this is NOT fiscal responsibility.