Latest budget session leaves tax increase at nearly 3%

February 10, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville Council has managed to get twice as far in the budget process this year as they have last year, with only some of the same antics recurring. But the resultant tax levy might not be as impressive to some as councillors’ performance. As of the end of Monday night’s council session, sitting as Finance Committee, the tax levy is sitting at a proposed 2.96 percent increase, or $84.37 for an average home assessed at $344,907.

Monday night’s meeting was the first to see a long Public Question Period for the 2016 deliberations, with one resident expressing concerns that her property taxes were nearly double in Orangeville what she paid for in Brampton, a situation she felt was inappropriate given that the two communities provide the same services.

Mayor Jeremy Williams and Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock spoke to the fact that part of the reason taxes are higher in Orangeville, despite it being a smaller municipality, is a lack of infrastructure and commercial assessment.

“I don’t want to say much more, other than there are reasons why our taxes are much higher than other areas, and why our water [rate] is much higher,” said Mayor Williams. “We also don’t have a lot of the corporate options that our neighbours to the south have, which makes more of a tax burden on the residents. I don’t like it, but it is what it is.”

Deputy Mayor Maycock added that it has to do with how much of the Tax Levy can be drawn from the corporate/industrial side of things versus the residents.

“Over 80 per cent of the money the Town collects is from the residential taxes,” he explained. “In Brampton, from going through there and knowing how much industrial and commercial businesses there are, it’s probably around 55 per cent of the money coming from the taxpayers. The burden for the Town paying for services to provide is on the [residential] taxpayer.”

He added that it’s one of the reasons the Town should be focusing on attracting industry, as it will help provide a break to local taxpayers. Another reason the taxes are high is that the Town faces an infrastructure backlog, which consultants have informed Council needs to be addressed. Although the Town is not in the dire situation currently facing the County, it could be in a few years if changes aren’t made.

“We’re falling behind by $1.7 million  a year,” said Councillor Scott Wilson, during a discussion on putting forward more money to address priority projects. “If we go for an additional $300,000 towards that this year, it will be in the budget to begin with next year.”

After more discussion, a motion was passed to complete the resurfacing of First Street and Dawson at an additional $215,000 to come from the tax levy.

While Council made it through the items on the agenda, it was decided they would hold another Finance meeting on February 29, allowing residents the time to review the approved budget items and express their concerns, prior to sending the budget to a regular Council session for approval.

By Tabitha Wells

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