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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Chapter 4 - Have you ever wondered why taxes keep going up?

by Doug Harvey

The Final Chapter - A Good Future Example

We have seen how in the previous chapters how just a simple policy direction can fuel tax increases over a long period of time, and if you still have any doubts just look at your March 2019 Central Elgin water-wastewater bill or could this just be more fake news.

As an example I went back seven years to 2013 when water-wastewater rates were compared with 2012 and according to my rough calculations it seems that your bill from 2012 to 2019 has doubled or on average had a 12.5% yearly increase. That seems to be more than the yearly rate of inflation over the same period.

Combined water/sewer bills comparison

On my March 15, 2019 bill my meter reading said I'd consumed 18 cubic meters of water and my combined water/sewer bill from Central Elgin came in at $191.41. This bill represents only a single person's water consumption for a roughly two month period.

These following bills represent a two person water consumption rate for a two month period. On my March 12, 2012 bill my meter reading said I'd consumed 45 cubic meters of water and my combined water/sewer bill from Central Elgin came in at $205.26.

On my March 13, 2013 bill my meter reading said I'd consumed 39 cubic meters of water, or 6 cubic meters of water less than for the same period in the previous year. My 2013 bill was $222.48, or $17.22 more than for the same period in the previous year.

When it comes to budget water-wastewater costs, they are just a single item on a list of hundreds. Now if you have some items on that budget list that keep going up, in order to keep that tax-payers tax increase to a reasonable level, two options are available.

The first and least expensive is to juggle finances around that have a side benefit of "Controlled growth, with no debt" and the second is to borrow, and yes I think we all know those famous words "Why wait for spring, do it now." Without going too far back in time, and costing several million dollars, Port Stanley knows that second option all too well.

Going back to the year 2010 when the Port Stanley Harbour was transferred to the Municipality of Central Elgin from Transport Canada along with a one-time contribution of $13.6 million to fund operation of the harbour, including dredging and breakwater repair and reconstruction, and finally including a commitment from Transport Canada of cleaning up the "berm" lands on the east side of the harbour to permit Parkland.

Those words of wisdom back then from a tax-payer funded study offered an opinion that the only way to make the harbour entirely self-sufficient and not become a tax-payer burden was to invest the money and wait to let the funds grow to a level that could fund all that was needed to repair the harbour lands. Well almost nine years later we know how that went. Sure we do have some of the harbour fixed, and a substantial part of that $13.6 million we got from Transport Canada is gone, but what about the rest of the work that still needs to be done, where does that money come from.

Several opinions, proposals, and studies have come forward with the promise of putting Port Stanley back into those glory days of history past. The plans of new development filling up those lands that were once empty with condos, or mid-rise buildings seems to be a very common theme. A common theme that seems to follow that distinctive path of looking for a handout from the tax-payers public purse to pay for these wishful dreams of making a very short summer season resort town busier.

Another possible drain on the taxpayers purse could be that political promise of an additional route through a brownfield to Carlow Road from the new George Street development. Something for nothing, I can only imagine what hidden costs will go with that scheme a dream and this concludes "Have you ever wondered why taxes keep going up?"

Last Updated: Saturday, 09 March 2019 14:42:14 PM EST

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