Opinion

The Real Bottom Line Tax Increase Proposal

Hand and calculator
Written by Skid Crease

The Town of Caledon held a very well-attended Open House on Tuesday night. Besides our Town CFO Fuwing Wong almost the entire talented staff of our Budget Department, including Treasurer Heather Haire, were in attendance.

The other members of our Town admin team with whom I spoke were CAO Mike Galloway and Town Clerk Carey deGorter. As well, Mayor Thompson was there along with a number of well-informed Councillors that included Doug Beffort, Rob Mezzapelli and Nick deBoer, to assist our engaged citizens in understanding our 2018 budget.

So, if we wanted to have an intelligent face-to-face chance to talk with the people in the know, we had plentiful opportunity.

Earlier I had an acquaintance complaining to me about the budget and I had suggested to him that he attend the open house. He declined, preferring instead to armchair complain using various online conspiracy theories as the basis of his angst. Ah well, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

But for those of us who turned out, we had well-detailed posters to outline the budget and well-informed staff to explain it further if needed. Really, it is quite simple for most of us. It’s like the old joke about your dog when you are talking away to him and all he hears is “Blah, blah, blah, blah, REX, blah, blah, blah, SIT, blah, blah, blah, blah, GOOD DOG.” If you skipped those classes on financial literacy like I did, a deep explanation of budget and finances sounds similar.

So given the general public’s financial literacy quotient, it boils down to this for most of us…how much are our property taxes going to rise in 2018? Three sources impact that number – increases at the Town, the Region and the School Boards – and the bottom line, that Blended Rate, as  currently proposed,  is an increase of approximately 3.3%

That means on my humble sunny south hill home currently taxed at a rounded off $4000 will see an increase of $132.00. On the installment plan, that’s $13.20 a month. So for one hour of new minimum wage a month, I can pay for my increase.

And what do I get for that exorbitant amount? Gee, let me see: infrastructure repair, infrastructure replacement, eco high tech replacement of obsolete technologies, improved IT communications, talented new staff to deal with emerging issues of an aging population, demands of an increasing population for recreation, wellness and medical facilities, affordable and accessible housing for our youth, our citizens with disabilities, and our seniors, and the cost of creating a fully implemented safe pedestrian and cycling community. Add on top of that the continuing quest to bring viable public transportation to Caledon. Not bad for less than $15 a month.

On the other hand, as I told my disgruntled budget-phobic acquaintance, you could choose to live in a Syrian refugee camp. They don’t pay any taxes.

About the author

Skid Crease

Skid is an internationally respected, award winning educator, author, keynote speaker & storyteller. An environmental & outdoor education specialist. Accredited member Canadian Association of Journalists. “Always leave your campsite cleaner than you found it.”

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2 Comments

  • Hello. I also attended last night and had a very informative conversation with Barb Shaughnessy (I don’t see her name mentioned above, but she is certainly one of the best informed) regarding what improvements Ward 1 can look forward to. Anybody living in Ward 1, if possible, should take a look at the 2018 budget on line or contact Barb. I have some concerns, and after reading your break down or assessment, I cannot say that I disagree with your position, however I do have a question for you. How often do you travel Hwy 10 ? Do you frequent Caledon Village for any reason ? I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Hi, Kate: I did not speak with any Regional Councillors last night for interviews regarding the budget, and I cannot comment on your Ward 1 Regional Councillor’s knowledge of your local needs. I have personally found Ward 1 Area Councillor Doug Beffort to be very well-informed, balanced, and respectful in his perspectives.

      It is important to remember that this is a Caledon-wide budget exercise, A contact with the CFO, Fuwing Wong, or theTreasurer, Heather Haire, will also help Ward 1 residents see how it applies to their particular concerns. In the end, personally for all of us, it comes down to 3.3 %. I trust my Area Councillor, Rob Mezzapelli, to ensure that it is wisely applied to my Ward in Bolton.

      Skid