Earlier today, there was a Letter to the Editor from Dennis Nabieszko of the Cobourg Taxpayers Association about the true tax increase this year. The extra is the stormwater charge which was previously included in the tax bill from the Town but will now be included on your Electricity/ water/ sewer bill from Lakefront. So far this year, I have received two such invoices with no sign of the stormwater fee so I called LUSI. They said that there will be a new line item on invoices when the details are sorted out. LUSI is simply administering the bills and will pass the amount collected to the Town. This idea was first approved earlier in 2022 and the subject has been discussed extensively on this blog – see Resources below.
The fee will use a rate per property provided by the Town and will start to be included soon – possibly in the March or April invoice.
The fee will be due each month although the first amount will be a catch up. Because the fee depends on the area of the property, properties with large parking lots like the mall will pay a large amount but large residential properties will also be charged quite a bit more than smaller ones – even if they don’t use any stormwater drains.
When this subject came up in Council, Director Laurie Wills was asked whether a transfer of stormwater costs to a separate fee would mean that the Public Works amount on the tax levy would be correspondingly less. She said yes. My read of the 2023 Budget is that Public Works did not ask for an increase so Laurie seems to have delivered on her promise. The close to zero increase for Public Works was however overwhelmed by increases in other departments.
2023 Tax Increase Announced
The 2023 budget was given formal approval at the regular Council meeting on 27 February – it was essentially as discussed at the 9 February meeting as reported here.
The budget increase will be 8.1% resulting in a tax levy increase of 6.6% (the reduction is because there are 1.5% more properties to tax). Your total tax bill for 2023 will include County taxes which went up 6% and School taxes which did not increase at all. But note that these numbers are overall for average properties and individual properties could well be different.
But as Dennis points out, there are other bills to pay with the Electricity/ water/ sewer bill from Lakefront being a major one. Watch for a jump in that one coming soon.
Letters to the Editor
- Another View of Storm Water Management – 1 February 2023
- Do Taxpayers know what is Really Going On? – 5 March 2023
Previous News Blog articles
- Cobourg to increase Stormwater Charge – 16 November 2021
- Consultant’s report with “funding assessment” – pdf – 28 April 2022
- More on Separate Stormwater Tax – 4 May 2022 – includes expected “tax increase”
- Council approves new Stormwater Fee – 23 June 2022 – includes table of rates (per hectare) for 2023.
- Water Rates to increase – plus Stormwater Charge – 10 December 2022
- Second Meeting to review budget – 9 February 2023 – effectively the last time Council discussed the 2023 budget.
Dare I say this…….Maybe it’s finally time to consider a year-round money maker where the Trailer Park resides?
Not sure why people are so attached to the trailer park. I can’t see many tax payers in Cobourg using it, but I can see many Cobourg tax payers who would pay to sit at a restaurant or spa overlooking the beach. I travel regularly and waterfront property is so under utilized in Ontario.
Like what? Condos?
No, I wasn’t thinking Condos. I was thinking along the lines of what Pickle said. Why not year round Lakefront Restaura ts and/or pubs with patios? The Whistling Duck in Brighton has never been empty when we we’ve been there. The Lake is a draw.
I find it hard to believe that a Seasonal Trailer Park that costs the Town to upkeep makes the kind of profit the land could make year round.
Land be enjoyed by All and not just a few I might add.
I think that if a restaurant/pub/hotel at the campground was a viable business opportunity, some developer would have done it by now.
Any idea how the Best Western’s tent restaurant/pub at the yacht club worked out.
Whenever I went by it appeared empty.
Not necessarily. There’s been talk in the past about this, but every time there is talk about closing the trailer park people throw a fit and a petition goes around to save the trailer park. I’m not sure what the obsession is with the trailer park. These are rich people’s vacation homes. I’ve seen $100,000 airstreams and motor homes in there. Most people likely from out of town. And there’s enough space to put more than just a restaurant. As others have said, a spa, a coffee shop, maybe an ice cream shop. It would be a good idea to have a variety, not just an expensive restaurant and spa. That way it could be utilized by all residents.
Maybe a free parking lot to go with the restaurant.
A contractor would have to come up against a hue and outcry from all those that still oppose change.
The tent was during Covid and not set up very well.
A better example is, you have to make Reservations @ Curcina Urbana. And that’s just facing the Parking Lot to the Lake.
A proposal was drawn up a few years ago that looked great. Sadly a bunch of people signed a petition to save a space that very few Cobourg residents use in a meaningful way. I’m convinced you could get people in this town to sign anything.
Maybe the future of the Trailer Park should be made a Referendum choice in the next election. The 3 years could be used to come up with viable options. And hey! maybe more than 40% would show up and vote.
Viable options? A consultant was hired a few years ago and she was asked to identify Cobourgs most valuable land. The trailer park land came up trumps. She “suggested” it be put to better use. This consultant was a Cobourg resident. No more, she received so much hate from “The Feel Good Town ” that she sold her house and moved!
Will never happen. I presented this idea to council 10 years ago. I even had a slideshow of photos if how this could look. I was labeled “an Elitist”! Keep your ideas re the trailer park to yourself. People in Cobourg can be mean!
Is there any legal method available to Open a Casino???
The Town would only give it away with cheap rent and Mismanage like the Venture 13 & the CCC etc It will become another long term Resident Tax obligation if left to this Towns staff to manage .
Instead we should hold a new Election / Remove those councilors that are going against what they Campaigned on .
On the actual increase – Should a homeowner have been paying $3506 in Property Tax previously will the new rate then be $3506 X 14.06% = $429. 67 – an average home divided by 12 to equal an increase of $35.81 per month? Am I correct in this calculation? I saw it reported that MPAC evaluations had created $275,000. as the average home price in Cobourg now which seems undervalued. At the current time I don’t have the new Mill rate to do the calc using that.
Add on after Edit – property taxes on a average home in the year 2010 were $2400 a year 2022 saw the taxes on this same house rise to $3500. a year for an increase over 13 years of $1100 overall, or a monthly increase of $91.67. I have to say I am a little puzzled about the outcry. In this time rents have more than doubled for the same period. Am I missing something?
If I’m understanding your calculations correctly then no.
Roughly speaking the COBOURG portion of your property tax bill will increase by about 6.6%, the county portion will increase by about 6% (4.9% + 1.1%) and the school tax portion will be unchanged.
In addition, you will be charged a new stormwater tax via your LUSI bill. The amount of this new tax will depend on the size of your lot (not the value of your property) and whether you are in a single family home, townhouse or apartment. The amount collected from this new tax is expected to be about 6.2% of the total amount that Cobourg collected in 2022 from property taxes.
Hopefully someone will correct me if I’ve made a mistake!
Why are you comparing the increase in rents to the increase in property tax? There is no obvious relation between the two.
Thank you for replying so promptly Ken. In answer to your question with rents more that doubling the renter is much more affected. Their disposable income has lessened considerably more in comparison to a homeowner. The renter also is somewhat affected as they receive yearly increases set on such things as property tax to the building owner. Many renters I see are driving cars that can only be classified as old junkers as their income has been reduced to the tune of $1500 per month setting the need for bus service and recreational funded by the Town/County property tax.
The people I see most that will experience the pain are recent buyers – double whammy of much higher MPAC valuations and the interest rate increase. On that I can’t imagine anyone not foreseeing the giveaway rates of interest would end thinking back on years’ prior rates of 6 – 8%. Hopefully we will never see the 19% interest rate imposed in the 80s.
By and large, renters in Cobourg are shielded from significant rent increases by provincial rent control. Units built after rent control, sometime between 1980 and 1995, and vacated units available for rent are subject to market prices.
Property tax and the SWM fee will have to be absorbed by the building owner as operations costs. There is no means of passing these costs on to a rent control tenant.
Any rentals listed today Bryan are well beyond the ones controlled by LTA with the legislated increases. You are looking at minumum monthly rental of $1700 plus utilities. Many today are listed at $2000 and over. I met a man who was renovicted – he had find a new place to live and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that is affordable. New industry? Most are blue collar jobs. They can’t get people to work that live here – new residents coming to Cobourg are faced with the extravagant rents asked today plus an unreliable bus service to get there.
Additionally I looked the hydro, water and heating bills and was impressed at how low they were – all together to run this paid off home including home insurance it ran about $850. a month.
Further to your comments, Dave:
That is likely incorrect. Most homeowner’s disposable income has diminished significantly due to higher mortgage payments, higher property taxes, higher electricity and heating costs, higher maintenance costs and generally paying more for most things.
That is unfortunate but how should the town or county compensate for a loss of disposable income? Spending more on free bus and recreational services means higher taxes and less disposable income for everyone. Retired seniors have few means to increase their income to fund luxuries for others. There is no free lunch!
Correct Ken – there is no free lunch. Bus Services and recreational – these are covered when a town reaches the size of Cobourg by the Property taxes collected and offered so the town may grow with lower paid workers that assume these industrial jobs. Who would set up here knowing they can’t get workers? Out today for a drive I saw several signs, as I have been for some time that state Hiring Now by the same employer for some time – apparently no takers and no people moving to Cobourg to take them as they can’t afford the rental rates being asked. The average property tax I quoted only increased monthly $91.67 in 13 years – other costs would not add up to what a renter is charged on today’s advertised rentals.
I’m curious. Why do you feel that it is important for Cobourg to grow? What is wrong with remaining a small town?
Rental charges reflect the costs of operating a property — taxes, utilities, maintenance, insurance, etc — plus a return on the value of the property. With 500,000 newcomers each year it is not surprising that there is a huge shortage of housing and consequently housing prices have increased greatly.
Wrong place to reply prior. I am not the party saying it is important for it to grow Ken. It is growing. Now with a Metrolinx connection through Port Hope this will assist its growth as well as the people retiring and coming to Cobourg as they have. Westpark, New Amherst, the condos all over and the east end development prove that. The newspaper report people from larger cities are selling up and “fleeing” it is reported to towns such as ours.
Funny it has just been the last few years that the rents have suddenly gone through the roof when up to then such rents were below $1000. And yes that is what I have been saying over and over. The table has only been set for 20. The Federal government in its wisdom has failed to prepare for such large numbers of people in ensuring not only housing but infrastructure of all kinds be built to accommodate.
14.06% (?) is the combined levy & SWM fee increase.
Multiplying the prior year’s tax by the levy increase works only if the MPAC valuation is the same, which it generally is not.
$275K is the average MPAC valuation, not the average actual market price.
Rents have increased significantly only for those units built after the rent control period and units that have been vacated. This is the same revaluation process as occurs in the housing resale market.
I’m missing your point.
Yes, not the average market price. The valuation displays most homeowners are not being charged a tax rate that applies to the value of their home.
There are few protected under the LTA – new builds and re-advertised older buildings are charging twice as much for new tenants. The fewer long term tenants have no choice but to stay no matter whether maintenance is kept up. Simply they can’t afford to move. “You’ll like it and you’ll like it plenty” is the usual refrain from an owner – they say do you have any idea what you would be paying should you give notice? As many long term tenants die, move to old age homes or in with family their rentals go up at the new astromical rates creating a much smaller base of tenants protected at former rental charges.
Justified complaints are met with semi and outright threats of eviction.
Stop with 14% on the levy it’s not 14% on the levy it is 6.6. They are pulling the SWM fee out of the levy like most larger municipalities did years ago. If when I get my new taxes for this year I add the 6.6 and don’t see some sort of reduction then I will be upset because this will mean they haven’t pulled out the SWM fee. This is new to us but has been done across the province for quite a while now.
Concerned, the levy has not increased by 14%; the levy has increased by about 8.1%.
Plus, there is a completely new stormwater tax that amounts to about 6.2% of the 2022 levy. The stormwater tax will not be on your tax bill but will be on your LUSI bill for electricity.
There will be no reduction anywhere so prepare to be upset!
So are you going to call our water bill a tax as well then? Are you ignoring the fact that most medium to large municipalities also have this charge on the water bill or other bill and we as a smaller municipality are finally catching up to what the others did many years ago?
If nothing has changed – in other words we are still paying for SWM and the Town budget reflects the work done in the SWM systems in the line items of the budget why would you change the collection method if you were not trying to hide a big increase? What is the reason for the transfer of the collection method?
Do you call 75 dollars per year on average a big increase Ben?
Concerned, big or small, the amount is 6.2% more than the average property owner paid last year.
what’s that got to do with the question I asked?
Ben & Concerned,
The SWM fee is intended(?) to apply the “charge” on a more representative basis: those who “use” more, pay more. Walmart, the Mall, Northam, which are mostly hard non-absorbent surfaces will(?) pay more than a property that is mostly grassland.
A basic difference between a tax and a fee is that a fee provides the user has a choice regarding consumption. Therefore the charge for water is a user fee, but the SWM fee is really a tax.
Consider also the origin of the SWM fee. It was part of the property tax previously, based on property value. Now it is a “fee” (tax) based on property area
And it is still only 75/yr or 6 dollars per month for most. Also it will be a set rate so yes the large ones will pay more.
The Watson report notes that the new SWM plan will reduce the amounts paid by Walmart and the others on your list.
That doesn’t make sense to me.
Low density residentials properties, typically single family dwellings, have more, often much more permeable surface than a retail box store. How do such properties pay more?
If that is indeed the case then who is paying more?
Cobourg home owners?
The Town certainly didn’t make that fact wisely known.
From page 50 of the Watson report:
A business such as Walmart will pay 20% less with a separate SWM charge compared to as part of property taxes.
As you can guess, homeowners will pay more to make up for the loss of taxes paid by Walmart.
Let’s see the members of Council who voted for this own up to it. Walmart pays less.
Home owners pay more.
They certainly kept that little tidbit well hidden.
30 people gathered to protest an ill-timed increase to Council compensation that was rightfully defeated in budget deliberations yet this goes quietly into the night. If people aren’t happy, if people truly want a change, if people want this reviewed, if people want this overturned – then raise your voice and do something about it. This Council works for the taxpayers but it takes effort, energy, time, resources, determination and a collective.
Rob, I presented a delegation to Council outlining the errors in the SWM report, the unfairness of the SWM scheme (tax reduction for Walmart, impact on larger properties, etc) and other points. There were no questions from Councillors. Six others presented delegations on SWM. They were ignored. About 20 residents attended the Council meeting in a show of support for the objections.
What more should we do? Should we elect more flip-floppers like Bureau?
When is your next (first?) delegation?
How would know what is in Walmart lease?
Do they pay any property tax at all
Smart Centres could be paying all the taxes since they are the owner
Concerned, consider the normal usage of the terms “tax” and “fee”.
A tax is something that is collected for the common good and the payer has no choice regarding the amount or whether it is even beneficial. Think of “income tax“, “property tax“, “sales tax“, “carbon tax“,…
A fee is something that one pays for a service. The payer has a choice whether or not to use the service. Think of “parking fee“, “tax preparation fee“, “investment management fee“,…
The stormwater management fee is fixed regardless of whether I need stormwater management or even if the town performs any stormwater management for my property. Does that sound like a “fee” or a “tax”?
If you are still confused you may find the explanation at http://spacing.ca/toronto/2014/01/14/difference-fee-tax-city-governments/ helpful.
Fine a 6 dollar per month tax not 6% of property taxes someone currently pays as you and Bryan are claiming.
Concerned, it is 6.2% of the 2022 levy. That is, the new stormwater “fee” is 6.2% of the total amount that Cobourg property owners paid in Cobourg property taxes in 2022.
Where do you get this information other than your hypothesis. The report states clearly how the charge is calculated and your calculation isn’t it.
Concerned I have no idea what concerns you regarding my statement.
The 2022 levy was $26,052,155. The stormwater “fee” is planned to collect $1,633,527 which is 6.27% of the 2022 levy.
No “hypothesis” but just the town published facts. Do you have alternate facts?
Although you like you calculation because it’s scarier…here is how the town states the tax is calculated:
The stormwater charge will be based on the type and size of a property. The type of property will determine which rate will be applied to the land area. The property type and size will be based on information provided to the Town by MPAC. So not the calculation you imply.
I’m sorry that you are concerned that I don’t understand the way the stormwater tax will be calculated. I explained the scheme and its flaws at length in my delegation to Council months ago.
A few of the many problems are:
Roughly speaking, fees collected will be about $250K less than planned.
So again you are guessing you don’t actually know.
In the report they state approximately 1.6m
Yes, Concerned, the consultants calculated a 2023 revenue requirement of $1,633,527. They were guessing the required rates and they were wrong for the reasons that I listed plus a dozen more errors in their analysis. There will have to be even higher than planned stormwater rates in 2024 to make up for their errors.
What is your point?
So Dave let’s reread the report on stormwater
“No change – let stormwater assets continue without being fixed and expect much larger costs in future to fix them (see below for report detailing costs)
Fix the infrastructure but don’t implement stormwater fees based on usage (see article: More on separate Stormwater Tax) Average residential tax bill for stormwater would be $150 instead of the current $37 – that’s $113 higher.
Fix the infrastructure and implement stormwater fees based on usage. Tax bill would be lower than otherwise but residences would be billed and taxed such that they pay an average of $76 per year for stormwater instead of $150. Staff recommended this approach.”
So based on what I cut and pasted from the report the average home will have on their bill a SWM fee of approximately 6.00/month. 76 dollars per year for storm water directly out of the report and I will cut and paste the other portion that states approximately 75.00 will come off of your property taxes related to the storm water charge so what are we really arguing about…6 dollars per month. Interesting.
“If the proposed stormwater fee were to be implemented, residential taxpayers would instead pay $75 – no longer in their tax bill but instead in a new bill – similar to the water and sewer bill.”
But I’m sure Ken and Bryan will say the town is lying. Maybe the missed the fact that the 904.72 is for an hectare of land but most residential properties are only .08 hectares.
Very informative Concerned, thank you for the break down of costs. Unfortunately, my point for renters, anyone renting TODAY will pay a minimum of $785 more on those rent controlled units compared to rents previously charged to a further $1140 as per currently advertised rentals. Cobourg is a town populated by seniors who will not have a mortgage. People recently buying will be hit much higher but most people look at the hand writing on the wall with interest rates before diving in to a home purchase adding in the extra cost to see if they can afford the purchase. It is reported though real estate prices are coming down thanks to the interest rate increases. Wonder what this Wednesday’s announcement will be.
Concerned, you are ignoring some critical facts:
So Ken you think the town has based the “tax” off of the number of residential dwellings in the town. Where do you see that indicated in the report anywhere?
No, Concerned, it was a correction to your assertion that the amount was $75 per household. $1.6M is about $160 per household. The money will be paid by a combination of local businesses, rental property owners and homeowners.
No change: “stormwater assets continue without being fixed” This is not correct. SW assets have been maintained by the Town’s Works dept and the cost funded by the property tax.Fix infrastructure funded by property tax. CorrectFix and implement stormwater fees based on usage. Not correct. The SWM fee is not based on usage. It is based in the property area and is not optional, therefore a tax, not a user fee.Neither Ken nor I have said the Town is lying. That is your claim and it is totally false.You have missed the point entirely.
The issue is that the Town is:
presenting the SWM fee as a user fee, not a taxnot including the SWM tax in the total levynot disclosing that the levy increase is 14.3% over 2022 (PT levy + SWM)
my two cents worth:
In your post you wrote “…6.6% increase will be taken out of our Town tax pocket and another 6.0% will taken from our other pocket by the local utility LUSI….”
LUSI had nothing to do with it. They are just the messenger. The SWM fee is ALL Town.
Perhaps the Town should look at the model the Sandbanks uses where they charge for beach use to help offset costs that taxpayers were having to pick up.
The Town has already done this. Parking fees in the beach area have gone up, as have the parking fines.
…..but maybe not enough?
Bryan – you have missed the point again. The focus I was making was charging for the Beach as my comments said. Sandbanks have a separate charge for beach use.
So, Rational, fence around the beach, staff charging at the entrance, free entry for Cobourg taxpayers with proof of residency and arm bands to allow re-entry? This has been discussed at length over the last few years with numerous reasons why it is unworkable. What is different with you proposal?
There is a reason, Rational, why no Cobourg resident has ever approached Town Council with such a proposal. No one has a convincing argument that would make it fly. However, you can be the first, if you really really mean it.
The main problem with trying to set up a system for “charging for beach use” is that there are no defined entry points for the Cobourg beach (such as at Sandbanks and Pres Qu’ile) – there’s no way to cordon off the beach properly without fencing off the whole area. Increased parking fees and hefty fines seems to be the only way to do it.
Does funding for our drug treatment, homelessness and mental health resources come from the county or are Cobourg taxpayers paying for people from surrounding areas disproportionately? Honestly asking
The county but Cobourg residents pay county taxes.
I know that I pay County taxes, I’m asking if our neighbouring communities are paying their fair share. I will assume they are if all towns are taxed equally and the County foots the whole bill.
The County mil rate (property tax rate applied to the MPAC valuation) is .00493389. So the County property tax on any property in the County with the same MPAC valuation will be the same.
That does not mean that the average county tax is the same in each municipality. It depends on the MPAC valuations
Well there you have it. The wealthiest people in town residing in some of the most luxurious homes in Cobourg. They have sway with the organizations that are protesting any form of services in Cobourg whether it be recreational or daily needs such as a bus service and police force able to offer excellent protective services.
The CTA is an organization I have no faith in now. Only seems to represent the upper echelon of Cobourg. Let us have no services they say – too expensive. From prior posts they state they do not feel any obligation to support the businesses here – they buy on line probably at the cheapest price they can find rather than support a contributing business in Cobourg.
Realized this kind of citizen was out there a long time ago while delivering pizza – 15 cents my good man – please watch the Cadillac on your way out.
quote from Mr Nabieszko’s letter to ed.
“The Mayor seems to be the only one that gets it and cares about what has really happened here and voted against this budget.”
Let’s be fair Dennis, the Mayor, nor any other member of Council, mentioned this to the Citizenry during the budget adoption meeting. He voted against the budget not the StormWater fee – because it had already been hived off to LUSI.
Listening to the Mayor after his rejection of the Budget and his defence of his position did he ever talk about a 12.6% increase? No he seemed content to let this deception sit out there. There was a way to mitigate the StormWater increase but nobody wanted to talk about as they had hidden it in the LUSI bill.
It was, and still is deception!
Ben, you make some good points.
In the interest of accuracy, remember that the stormwater charge was approved by the previous Council. Blame the huge stormwater “fee” on re-elected Councillors Beatty, Burchat, Bureau and Darling.
But Ken these people had the opportunity to amend the way the SWM budget was going to be used and could have effected savings if they had wanted to – Bryan even made suggestions as to how to do it.
Takes 4 votes and the 4 incumbents (Beatty, Darling, Burchat, Bureau) chose to approve the budget and the SWM fee.
The storm water fee is still part of the budget, even though the department is presented as revenue/cost neutral, and the mayor did vote against the storm water fee as it is part of the 2023 budget.
As for LUSI, they have no part in this other than to do the billing based on data from the town: a contracted service.
Storm Water is entirely a creature of the Town…. Public Works specifically.
I agree however that billing SW as part of the utility bill is not very transparent. I think it’s a safe bet that many Cobourg residents won’t realize how much the total SW fee is and also won’t realize that the SWM fee was included in the 2022 property taxes.
For 2023 it was “moved” out of property tax, renamed a “user fee” and billed on the utility bill. Few will connect it to their property tax, realize the total amount of the SWM fee and realize that the total increase is 14.3%.
Now you see it, Now you don’t.
Out of sight, out of mind.
There are at least two things I expect in regards to paying taxes. One is there is a bang for my buck also known as good value in spending and the second is that spending of said taxes is in proportion to the amount collected. I do not believe past and current politicians grasp this. Several examples: the County construction of the new Golden Plough Lodge and museum archives has gone from $80 million to $115.42 million to $127.2 million (November 2022) and from 151 to 180 beds. This project meets neither of my above expectations. The proposal for a new CPS building at a cost of $75 million which will follow the path of the finances for the GPL also does not. There are 150 pickle ballers in town who already have 19 courts. Small specialty groups should raise their own funds if they want more services yet they’re already applying for (taxpayer funded) grants. Ditto the skate boarders. When Cobourg seniors requested a new centre, Cobourg got a hockey palace. At the time it was estimated that there were 900 hockey players in town. The facility cost $27 million. The taxpayer continues to pay for the facility as there seems to be little staff ability to make much profit. The proposal to build yet another water tower is also a huge waste of taxpayer money and is totally unnecessary. Yet it looks like one will be built. I can’t wait to see how town hall’s functioning and taxpayers’ services improves with the hiring of many new town staff. In my opinion the huge tax increase will not mean that there is good value in spending nor that money is spent in proportion to what is collected. What it will mean is spend, spend, spend……
I have lived in Cobourg for the past 28 years and have witnessed a number of “Foolish” moves by our town Council. The street light fiasco (going into business with a crook) that led to a big $ Fine and a waste of money on lighting. The CCC was the dream of a few people, sold to residents with lots of BS, not to mention again a very poor decision on both Rinks overhead lights that shed their taped-up pexi-glass shields down to the ice, and which were just replaced in full a year or two ago. Our staff and councillors don’t know how to manage money. Huge cost for Fire Protection and Policing over the years. Now…what do you suppose they will want to do with the harbour jetty…plow in another $20 to $30 million for what??? A lot of people in Cobourg are just getting by with their new higher mortgage payments and big increases in food prices. Oh wait, we should look at electric works vehicles too…what about a new police building with a proper gym facility and weight room…I hope some of the readers see the point of this…when does it end? Cut back to basics…that’s what we can now afford.
Although the budget increase is large, I believe previous budgets were kept artificially low and now we are playing catch up. When are we going to do something( anything really) that is going to offset large taxe increases looking ahead? Spending always goes up. I would like to see the industrial tax base increased with new industry.
I agree. Costs have gone up and will continue to go up. Residents expect some sort of tax increase each year due to infrastructure maintenance and improvements and ongoing normal
Residents also expect that the Mayor and Councillors will look at leveraging revenues off of assets. For example the bus system is an asset so Increase fares. The Beach is a significant asset so charge non residents for its use. Simply pick an area and asset and determine how to increase revenue from it. These additional revenues will lessen the effect on tax increases.
The mayor proudly says he voted against 30 items. Rather than trying to cancel services, which won’t help Cobourg, he should be spear heading new revenue sources and not auditioning for the Cobourg Taxpayer’s Association who in my view are far too negative.
Rationale, that is an excellent suggestion!
The bus service costs tax payers over $1.5M each year. According to page 112 of the Operating Budget documents, the bus handled about 55,000 rides in 2022. That means that each ride cost the taxpayers $27.27. Since you want to leverage the asset, perhaps the cost of a single fare should be increased to $40. Does that sound like a good idea or is the bus an unaffordable luxury?
How negative Mr Strauss. Again you miss the point, and broader objective. This is why I believed the CTA is negative and lacks solutions.
My proposal is you look at Town assets and make incremental or even small increases to contribute additional revenue to help offset some of the tax increase. You don’t need to go all 100% or nothing. Just simply use you sound thinking and make smart decisions.
Rationale, there isn’t much more negative than a 14+% tax increase that will make housing less affordable, discourage any industry from locating in Cobourg and generally reduce the quality of life for every resident.
The rational way forward is to eliminate spending on the non-essentials. No more luxuries like bus rides that cost $27 but the rider pays a dollar, no new skateboard park, no art gallery that few visit, no more failures like Venture13, no more roads to nowhere like the Kerr Street extension, no more handouts for “affordable” housing projects like Balder, no new hires without clearly defined deliverables, no more consultants…
The CTA tells it like it is. Would you prefer the sugar coated fairy tale version.
You also say the CTA lacks solutions Not so.
The CTA has proposed:
-that V13 be closed saving $100K-200K
-transit costs are out of control, use defined routes, increase fares
-stop funding the art gallery $150K+
What solutions have you suggested: specifically?
Increase/new revenue, how? on what?
“Just simply use you sound thinking and make smart decisions”. Agreed. Your plea has fallen on the deaf ears of Councilors Darling, Beatty, Bureau and Burchat; as well as a significant number of Staff and the CPS. Go after them with your pleas and game plan. Appears that Bureau may have heard some peoples objections over the proposed compensation increases. Your accusations toward the CTA are unfounded in spirit and actuality as both Ken and Brian state. All reasonable folks should be aghast at the 8.1% let alone the 14.7%.
Who were the brilliant people on Council that thought up the Bus Service in the first place. Love to see their “math” on that adventure.
Not to overlook the cost of the summer free (mostly empty) bus rota to the beach /return from Northumberland Mall.
That is a poorly conceived idea that no one asked for or wanted…
You have made some good points. The Town should leverage what we have to offset taxes instead of relying on a couple points from residential growth every year.
If the budget levy had a nominal 1% increase or better still 0%, then the additional tax revenue from “growth” would offset the nominal increase and perhaps even result in a tax decrease.
But that’s not what happens. Staff “spends” the growth money and more, resulting in a 14.3% increase (tax levy + SWM fee). (12.8% if you believe in the “after growth” myth)
“The Beach is a significant asset so charge non residents for its use.“
Never gonna happen.
Fencing in the beach, I agree with you, it’s not going to happen.
Raise parking fees in the “beach” area, It’s already happened
Monetize the beach, increase transit fees, make operations more cost effective, use the new revenue to offset taxes. You recommend all of these and all have been previously recommended by the CTA
Yes Informed, previous budgets were kept artiificially low. About further Industrial growth I have never seen so many signs for Hiring Now, reading employer complaints here about not being able to get workers, the lack of places for the blue collar workers to live they can afford, the need for a reliable time designated bus service to get them to their jobs as for now much of their income would be spent on housing – a car may not be feasible for many. The more rental and otherwise housing built the better. Supply to equal demand will help to lower costs in housing.
Right. Supply equal to demand will lower costs of housing but reducing taxes will help even more.
Taxes are not going to be coming down Flora. Be prepared to be also hit by Federal and Provincial tax increases – especially Federal. The Federal deficit is now in the Billions. They will be looking to re-coop this money. There will be fewer grants given to municipal governments with these deficits. Housing is in short supply I am sure you will agree. More supply means more competition which enables lower rates which then assists in the ability to survive higher taxation which has been coming for a long time.
You may recall that Tourism vice Industry was the main choice & emphasis by a council years ago and we all have seen how that has worked out.
New industry in Cobourg would be nice for a few reasons: jobs and property taxes being among the most important. It will happen slowly, if at all. The labour pool is small, affordable housing is close to non-existent, land is expensive.
As for spending; it goes up by choice. some of those choices were made by others in prior years: skimp on the basics and infrastructure repairs, spend on frills. Pander to small vocal interest groups instead of general benefits for all residents.
I would like to see the Northam industrial park expanded if it is fully tenanted. The Town owns land. Let’s come up with a strategy to expand this. It’s time to create more opportunities here to attract business and increase the tax base.Home owners are tapped out.
The Town does have industrial/commercial land for sale, but sales are few and far between. Northam/s business is leasing commercial property, not selling it. There is no increase in the tax base if Northam leases a property.
Some developers will tell you that the town is often viewed as developer unfriendly and they point to the number of projects that started, were put on hold, then failed. For example, look at the delay in getting the Holiday Inn project underway.
More revenue is part of the solution. The other part is cost effective operations on the Town’s part and spending restraint (reduction?).
The increases in price to construction/building supplies, clothing, gasoline, groceries, entertainment and admission prices as well as rents have more than doubled. Coupled with further recent compensation levels have added greatly to costs. A very long low borrowing rate enabled too many dollars to chase too few goods have all added to costs and reflect in the large property increase. As well as stalled rejected development which would have added further enterprise/residences to share and lower the pain.
Well, if the Letter to the Editor is correct, our Council has presided over the largest tax/fee increase in the Province. 14.3%
Why are we so lucky?….and…why do I feel betrayed?.
Even the genius Dante could not have conjured up such a penalty for the most guilty of souls…but, the people we elected did. And, what are we guilty of? Owning a home in Cobourg?
I’ll bet it’s the largest tax increase in CANADA!!!!
I totally agree. With the rise in the cost of everything, especially groceries where are the taxpayers to find enough to pay this ridiculous raise in taxes. They are taxing us right out of our homes then where do we go. Rent in this town is ridiculous as well. We can’t afford this council and their decisions. Someone above mentioned that we should stop funding things that aren’t used like the art gallery. I’ve never been to it and have absolutely no desire to do so. Storm water being a fee added and not included in the taxes and passed on to us via LUSI to me is a bit on the shady side. When the rest of the world is barely getting by right now we raise our taxes by more than it’s ever been before. As for the bus I was once in the position of not being able to afford a vehicle and either walked or rode a bike or payed someone who I worked with for a ride. The bus came about as I was a little more financially independent so I only used it once or twice and I do understand it is a must for many. Go back to routes so people can time their day to work with it. Perhaps when it’s time to replace a bus go smaller, look at electric??? I don’t know I’m no expert on transit systems but there has to be a way. Cut back on all the consultants that charge a fortune. Fix what needs fixing and if there is anything left work on the upgrades that do the most for the people paying those taxes not tourists. While I’m on a roll lets talk about cabins for the homeless. No one wants them in their neighborhood… Read more »
It was a member of the Cobourg Taxpayers Association (Bryan Lambert – Treasurer) who made the proposal at the end of a council meeting. Then Mayor Cleveland took the handoff and pressed hard for the remuneration increase, with two CTA representatives (Strauss and Lambert) strongly supporting it every time a taxpayer questioned it.
It just does not sit right what type of message the CTA is sending. One would expect support for taxpayers and solutions suggested other then take services away from the taxpayers.
In 2018 the CTA presented a delegation advocating paying our Councillors at least minimum wage; that fight is nothing new.
Through the years the CTA has presented numerous well documented ways to reduce our taxes. Over just the last few weeks there have been at least a dozen possibilities suggested on this forum.
Rational, what have you done? What are your concrete proposals to reduce our taxes?
I noticed that Councillor Bureau recently posted the following on his Facebook page:
Does Bureau actually believe that the increase is only 6.6%? Does he actually believe that the huge increase is the best that can be done for all of Cobourg’s residents?
One can say that the Bureau post is just a typical rhetorical political speech.
It is disgraceful in that many do speak the same language with the repetitive vocabulary and the familiar phrases.