Mono passes budget with 4.7% tax increase

March 30, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Mono property owners will see this year’s tax bill 4.7 per cent higher than last year.

Town council had aimed to limit the tax levy increase to just four per cent this year. And staff had achieved that benchmark, but it was at the expense of a pair of environmental initiatives.

A draft 2023 municipal operational and capital budget was presented to council on Mar. 14 with a proposed tax levy increase of 5.5 per cent. But council asked staff to whittle down the tax increase to the four per cent target.

To that end, the purchase of a vehicle to replace a F250 was deferred, and a $50,000 reserve contribution for an electric vehicle was eliminated. Staff was then directed to cut another $16,762 and bring back a final budget to the Mar. 28 meeting with a four per cent tax rate increase.

Delaying the purchase of an electric vehicle made it no longer necessary to set aside funds to install an electric vehicle charging station.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix voted against the budget’s initial final draft with the four per cent tax increase. His objection was based on an assessment report by the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change.

The UN assessment found that global warming will exceed the 1.5 degrees Celsius that was initially feared. Quoting from the report, Nix said there’s no time to lose to ensure the viability of humanity and to limit the temperature increase to below the 1.5-degree Celsius mark.

“And what is the Town of Mono’s response?” he said. “To achieve a tax increase of four per cent, we have pared our budget down to the point we choose to do nothing about climate change.”

Nix said that sends a bad message to Mono residents: That the Town of Mono chose to do nothing about climate change.

Councillor Ralph Manktelow said he was also upset at the removal of the savings for an electric vehicle and accompanying charging station.

Manktelow and Nix voted against the budget.

Coun. Melinda Davie said she’s also bothered by the budget as it was proposed. She had voted to accept previous drafts that had a higher tax levy increase, but included the line items against climate change.

“I think the upset that two of our councillors have voiced just shows, I think, what the future will hold with respect to the cuts that we have made down from the original presentation … of a 5.5 per cent increase,” Davie said.

She said that the $16,762 that staff was asked to cut from the last version of the budget wasn’t a great amount to be such a sticking point to passing the budget.

“How much is that really for each of us taxpayers to pay?” Davie said.

“It’s not very much,” said Les Halucha, the town’s treasurer.

“It’s pennies,” Davie said. “We’re all in this together, and we need to pay more.”

Mayor John Creelman said Mono already has an electric charging station.

But Michael Dunmore, the town’s public works director, said the existing one isn’t a commercial calibre Level 3 charging station.

Coun. Elaine Capes said one electric vehicle and charging station isn’t the tipping point for the planet.

“We’re not saying no to electric,” Capes said. “We’re saying not right this minute.”

There’s much more being done in Mono to offset global warming, she said.

“I don’t see this one single decision as … I don’t see it as the tipping point into the destruction of Mono,” Capes said.

Halucha said returning those omitted items to the budget will bring the levy increase to 4.7 per cent. Keeping just the reserve contribution would bring the increase to 4.6 per cent.

“I came in here today thinking four per cent looked pretty good to me,” Creelman said, and added that he’s still concerned about what ratepayers, the residents, can afford in these difficult financial times.

The mayor said it would have been nice if the Town of Orangeville agreed to Mono council’s request to parse out Mono’s fire service payment over four years. And it would have been nice had the provincial government not decreased its grant by $118,989.

“It’s unfortunate that there isn’t something else in this budget that we could take out and put the electric vehicle reserve back in,” Creelman said.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.