Mayor believes tax freeze unlikely
CORNWALL – Mayor Bob Kilger said Friday that while he welcomes the efforts of a group of business leaders to keep the status quo on taxes in 2012, the chances of such a scenario playing out are unlikely at best.
In an interview Kilger said the city would be setting itself up for financial headaches in the future if it doesn’t access more money from the tax base now.
“It comes back to bite you within a matter of a few years,” the mayor told the Seaway News. “You are just putting off” eventual cost increases for taxpayers.
Kilger points to some municipalities in southern Ontario that were “living off the fat” of increased development for several years, but are now looking at tax increases of more than five per cent.
The Community Action Group, made up of local community leaders and business stakeholders, issued a statement Thursday afternoon in which it put council on notice that a proposed 2.3 per cent tax increase currently being discussed by council is not keeping in mind with being fiscally responsible. The group wants the status quo on taxes in 2012.
“At this point in time that is not something I envision,” Kilger said.
But Coun. Andre Rivette sees it differently. When it comes to a vote around the council table, Rivette says he will not support any motion that results in a tax increase.
“There’s dollars we want to spend that we don’t have to spend,” he says.
The city needs to trim about $1 million to erase a potential tax increase. Rivette says shelving little projects like new docks at the municipal launch ($30,000) and new wood chips on some of the municipal trail systems ($30,000) can quickly add up in an effort to reign in expenses.
“There’s ways of doing things we will have to adjust to,” Rivette says.
Kilger said he can envision city hall reducing the tax increase to two per cent – which would cost taxpayers about $50 more on the average tax bill.
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