2018 Year in Review – January

January 7, 2019   ·   0 Comments

January 4

• We started the year with some positive news – local taxpayers had a little something extra to celebrate over the festive period after the Town of Orangeville announced its proposed tax increase for 2018 would see a reduction.

“There’s good news for Orangeville taxpayers at year-end,” wrote municipal spokesperson Sheila Duncan in a release to media as she revealed the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation had submitted a higher-than-expected 1.59 percent growth rate for the year – a decent boost from the 1 percent the Town had budgeted for. 

Much of that growth can be attributed to new homes and businesses springing up in the community, says Ms. Duncan. 

As a result, municipal taxes in Orangeville will be going up 3.04 percent this year. Back on Nov. 27, prior to the MPAC announcement, Town Council ratified a 4.63 percent tax levy increase for 2018. With growth expected to shave 1 percent off that total at the time, taking it to a 3.63 percent increase, the median single family home in Orangeville, assessed at $363,000, would pay $3,049 in taxes in 2018 – up $106.93 from the previous year. 

January 11

• Mono Council heard Tuesday that the Town will be writing off property taxes on properties worth about $1.4 million because they are on the tax roll but normally exempt from paying property taxes.

Treasurer Les Halucha submitted the list of Town-owned and operated properties whose taxes are to be written off. All told, they have been assessed at $1.456 million and would have produced $20,369.39 in revenue for the town. Writing the taxes off avoids the town paying property taxes to itself, the County and school boards.

January 18

• The Ontario government recently passed the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA), which Dufferin’s child protection agency says creates more accountable, responsive and accessible child and youth services. 

The act, which came into effect at the beginning of the year, has risen the age of protection of youth against various forms of abuse, from 16 to 18.

According to the Ontario government’s website, the act will be “Strengthening the focus on early intervention, helping prevent children and families from reaching crisis situations at home.”

The act will also provide “oversight of service providers, including children’s aid societies,” so that children and youth “receive consistent, high-quality services.”

• While poverty has long been considered one of Dufferin County’s “chief concerns” a former warden believes the municipality “should be doing more” to help its most hidden community. 

John Oosterhof was in Orangeville this past Monday (Jan. 15) to tell the town council that Dufferin County isn’t the “healthy, wealthy” community it appears to be. He called on Council to take a stand and help what has become a growing issue throughout the rural municipality in recent years, stating “poverty costs us too much to simply do nothing.”

Currently a member of the Dufferin County Poverty Reduction Task Force, the former Grand Valley mayor has long championed the need to address poverty in the region. Just last year Dufferin received a comprehensive report stating that one in 10 residents are living in poverty. Based on the county’s population, that means approximately 6,000 residents are living in need. We just don’t see it, says Mr. Oosterhof.

In 2017, Dufferin County spent in the region of $4.7 million on social assistance benefits alone, according to Mr. Oosterhof. He estimated that poverty cost each household between $2,300 and $2,900 last year.

“We should care because it costs us an awful lot of money,” Mr. Oosterhof noted. 

January 25

• There is a new second-in-command at the Orangeville Police Service (OPS) after the local force announced on Monday (Jan. 22) that it has filled the previously vacant position of deputy chief.

In a statement to the media, OPS Board Chair Ken Krakar welcomed new Deputy Chief Leah Gilfoy into the fold, announcing she would commence employment with OPS on Feb. 26.

No stranger to Dufferin County, Ms. Gilfoy resides near town in Caledon with her spouse Andy May, a long-time Constable with OPS. She arrives in Orangeville following an extensive career with the Toronto Police Service.

• A “devastating experience” for one local resident had a rare, happy ending recently when a dog and its owner were finally reunited following five long, lonely nights alone. 

Speaking to the Citizen last week, Caledon resident Norma Grant recounted the story of how her 10-month-old poodle Sierra was spooked by “what she surely must have thought was a bear” while they were out on a trail in the Glen Haffy Conservation Area, near Mono Mills, leaving her owner’s side and running for her life.

Norma eventually found Sierra holed up inside a shelter roughly five kilometres from where she had vanished. She called their reunion a “miracle”. 

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