Editor: Come to Chatham and drive down Churchill Street and you will see a newly paved street with paved sidewalks on both sides and new concrete driveway extensions for everyone.
Add in the multiple years of sewer construction from the end of Churchill to the court building and you are talking about tens of millions of dollars spent, in a very small area of Chatham.
Now, take a drive into the rural areas around Chatham and you will see roads decaying, no new gravel for decades, bridges being designated for closure and an attitude of complete adversity towards any work requests whatsoever.
And now, Chatham-Kent administration and council were considering passing increases in rural taxation by the elimination of what they call area-based tax categories.
These were designed to help provide some relief to rural properties for municipal services not received.
Farmland rightfully receives a major tax reduction – think about it; many farms receive no water, no sewer, minimal fire or police protection, and the farm consumes no city administrative overheads and certainly does not benefit from all of those expensive area improvement projects such as Churchill Street (and soon to be Victoria Avenue).
Farm homesteads are already MPAC assessed at full market value and farm property value assessments and corresponding taxes have risen tremendously – yet services received have been in decline for decades.
Municipal taxation is supposed to be based on the provisioning of services.
The area tax categories provided some, but nowhere near enough, relief for this discrepancy. But now this is under attack by administration.
This is just another example of regional government failure and arrogant centralized thinking, as the end result would be unfair, and once again, penalize outlying properties for things only the core municipalities receive.
If we continue down this path, then it is time for the regional government experiment to end and reset back a system that was much more fair to the rural areas and actually managed to accomplish things, instead of closing roads, bridges, etc.