CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council held a special meeting on Thursday night, March 23 with the hope of settling the 2017 budget. That did not happen.
There were several reasons for the delay, one of them being concerns over a new provincial tax rule that will keep Council in the dark on the final tax total, for now at least.
According to City of Cornwall CAO Maureen Adams, on March 7, the Province of Ontario introduced the Multi-residential tax restriction.
This tax restriction prevents municipalities from raising the tax rate on multi-residential properties beyond a rate of 2.0.
As it stands now, for the City of Cornwall’s 2017 budget, without this restriction the tax rate for multi-residential properties would be in the neighbourhood of 2.394.
This overflow in the multi-residential tax ratio will spill over into other classes and that affect has not yet been taken into account in the current draft of the budget.
“With all due respect to admin, without knowing the final numbers are going to be, at this time Mr. Mayor with all due respect I won’t support this,” said Councillor Andre Rivette.
CAO Maureen Adams explained the reasoning behind the new tax rule and how it will affect Cornwall.
“Cornwall is being hit by this more than other municipalities,” she said. “Certainly we’ve probably been hit harder than most.”
Adams went on to explain that a lot of social housing was multi-residential and that the provinces move on the whole would help those at risk individuals who rely on social housing, but that the decisions come at an inconvenient time for the City.
“Its unfortunate this is happening this year,” she said. “Without a doubt, it is a blow to that residential tax class, but I believe it is the right thing to do.”
Due to the still unknown effects of this new tax rule, and because City Administration still does not know what the education tax rate will be either, Council voted to defer the final decision on the budget once again.