Community initiative taxes unnecessary, reader says

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Sir: I got my property tax bill recently, and although I expected and readily accept the increase, there was one item that really disturbed me. I’m sure other ratepayers are just as confused as I was.

I am talking about an additional $12.88 that was entitled “Community Initiative.”

I had no idea what this was for so I talked to several friends and neighbours, all of whom also didn’t have a clue as to what this money was going to be spent on. While $12.88 is not a lot of money, it is when you multiply it by the number of property owners who will also be paying this amount or often times quite a bit more.

Mr. Gord Quinton, acting director of financial services for the municipality, told me that in the 2009 budget, Council approved $2.4 million to the YMCA for the new facility in Chatham and $1.2 million to St. Clair College to build the new Healthplex building at Thames Campus. (This is the second time that St. Clair College has been the recipient of well over a million of our tax dollars just this year.)

Mr. Quinton also advised that the payments for both these projects are spread over a seven-year period so this “Community Initiative” charge will be in place until 2015 inclusive.  If no new community projects are added, this charge will then drop off the bill for 2016.

Now, remember folks, on April 13, Samsung/Pattern announced an $11.5M community initiative fund to be given to Chatham Kent.

The “donation” provided an immediate $1.5 million for community-based initiatives and the establishment of The South Kent Wind Community Fund, with an additional $10 million paid into the fund over the next 20 years to provide a stable source of community funding for the long-term.

Since the municipality will be getting all this money from Samsung, why are they sticking it to us again with this extra tax grab?

If in fact council is going to force the taxpayers to foot the bill for these initiatives, what will be done with the $11.5 million it will accept from Samsung?

I am suggesting that it is high time for us taxpayers to take this council to task and insist that they stop spending our money so foolishly. We just cannot continue to increase our debt any longer. Folks, it is time for us to stop voting for the people who continue to allow their egos to spend our money in such an uncontrolled and imprudent manner.

The first step is to contact your councillor and complain vigorously. The second step is to attend at polls during the next election and get rid of some of these individuals who care nothing about what you do or think.

In order to know who the problem people are, we must pay very close attention to the issues and remember how each councillor voted on various spending agendas.

 

Frank DeBresser

Chatham

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