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Letters to the Editor
A collection of Letters sent to the Editor of Cobourg News Blog.
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Cobourg Council has passed the budget, and everyone believes the budget represents an increase of 8.1 percent in the 2023 tax levy over that of 2022, or a 6.6 percent tax levy increase after growth. The 2023 property tax that Cobourg residents will pay is based on this tax levy.
The real increase in the budget is 14.3%, and likely the highest property tax increase of all the municipalities in the province.
What is really going on?
Stormwater costs were part of property taxes in prior years, but the previous Council voted to remove the stormwater costs from property taxes and charge a stormwater user fee on your hydro/water bills, probably hoping you won't notice.
The stormwater costs for 2023 are $1.6M which is a 6.2% increase over the 2022 tax levy that taxpayers will be paying separately.
The real increase in the budget is 14.3%, (8.1% tax levy + 6.2% stormwater fee)
Taxpayers will be paying 12.8% (6.6% tax levy after growth + 6.2% stormwater fee) more to the Town this year and don't even realize it.
The irony is that our Council probably does not realize this either. Either that or, they do not want you to know.
The Mayor seems to be the only one that gets it and cares about what has really happened here and voted against this budget.
The media reported on Councillor Adam Bureau's comment to the Mayor on his rejection of the budget.
"With your comments Mr. Mayor it's kind of easy to sit back and say no when everybody else is working as a team. I think we honestly did a great job and we move forward."
We agree they did a great job of fooling everyone and passing the largest tax increase in Cobourg's history.
Since the budget has now passed, there is nothing we can do about this tax increase, but we thought you should know what is really going on.
Cobourg Taxpayers Association
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The Mayor's comments that our transit system is a luxury has had the right effect making residents angry and having them come forward to say that transit is not a luxury item.
Mostly, residents do not show any interest in the budget process. The new Mayor has hopefully changed that and has drawn them into the discussion. He has done it in a way that has upset people. Good for him! Get people angry and draw them into the discussion.
We need to get people to tell Council what is important to them.
We now also need to have the next part of the discussion and that is to identify what we are willing to give up. Asking for things is easy. No one wants to talk about what they are willing to give up.
We continuously see correspondence, delegations, and presentations on everybody's wants. What we do not see is what they are willing to give up getting what they want.
Council should be asking each person or organization as they come forward asking for something, what are they willing to give up elsewhere.
Council should also be asking the same question amongst themselves.
When Councillors submit their own requests for funding, they should identify what they are willing to give up elsewhere.
As for transit, transit will continue and likely with more funding than we can afford.
- Hits: 1122
I agree with Ben Burd – the Storm Water Management "fee" (SWM) approved by our last Council was poorly planned, poorly communicated to Cobourg's residents and is generally deceitful. The SWM tax grab is not a one-time charge since it is planned to continue and even increase every year until at least 2032.
When Council talks about property taxes (the levy) people have an expectation that the amounts being discussed are the TOTAL amount that a property owner must pay based on the size and character of their property. SWM fees are solely determined by the size and character of a property; why are they ignored in talk about tax increases?
Now that this deceitful fee has been approved what should be done? We must get spending under control. Many taxpayers are pressed to pay for necessities. They cannot afford the 11% property tax increase discussed by Mr. Burd. Where are savings possible? Council should be looking at the big-ticket items and exploring ways to reduce their costs.
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Storm water management does anybody know what it is and how we pay for it?
Well the Citizens of Cobourg will soon find out just how deceitful (not my words but another commenter) Council has been and the result is that a huge increase will be coming down the pipe (no pun intended).
Cobourg, until this year has always repaired and rebuilt the Storm Water System (SWM) and paid for it out of the Public Works budget. But way back when, at least six years ago the Province mandated "Asset Planning" for all of the assets of the Town. In other words the Town had to estimate the life of every piece of infrastructure that it owns and amortise replacement costs over the asset's useful life. The asset had to be depreciated and money set aside for the eventual replacement of the asset.
Read more: When is a large tax increase not a small tax increase? When you add a Fee