In his recent Spring 2017 Report to his constituents, Ward 4 Councillor Stan Daurio discusses taxes, the Town’s operating costs and the costs for Innisfil taxpayers.
“Two things affect the Town’s share of your taxes — assessment increases, especially in the beach areas, and (the money) needed to run our town. Unfortunately, the way that provincial assessment works, owners of properties in the beach areas for example, see significant assessment and tax increases influenced by new development, and will realize this benefit only if and when their property is sold. Some assessment increases bring in additional tax revenue without increasing municipal cost, as do new houses on existing streets, or new subdivisions. Staff productivity increases with each new vehicle that cuts grass faster and with continual improvements in maintenance and software tools. Such increases often equal or exceed increases in wages and other costs. In setting our budget objectives, we ignore the impact of such economies, and provide little or no recognition of the process improvements made by staff each year in their continuous efforts to work smarter,” he says.
Further, Daurio adds “the increase published by the town is the net % tax increase for education, Simcoe County and the Town. The town then adds an additional $1M more each year for capital development like roads and parks, and a small amount to build financial reserves to a healthy level. Fortunately, the half levied by other levels of government results in a significant reduction on your tax bill each year, and hides the significant increase in our levy that requires us to increase your taxes.”
Councillor Daurio writes since “hydro bills are about to get even higher” and they “will only continue to rise.” He also says that nearly 8% of property owners “can’t or have difficulty paying their tax bills” and asks, “Are you okay with paying more today and for a long time, instead of making reduction of this load a priority now?”
He says there are opportunities for InnPower that would reduce your taxes and hydro bills, and build reserves more quickly.” InnPower recently applied for a further 7% rate increase as well. Valued at $40M+, InnPower does not generate any interest or dividends for the Town. Councillor Daurio believes that a partnership with Powerstream, now called Alectra Utilities, would “yield an $8 million annual benefit” for the next six years or $48M! He argues that “energy history since the early 2000s has proven” that staying the course is a “failed concept.” Daurio would “prefer to make a deal with Alectra – not to sell but for a partnership with them.”
Daurio believes that “the combined financial benefit of partnering with Alectra could be millions of dollars annually, combined with the impact of lower hydro rates. This would allow us to reduce taxes annually by a sizeable amount for the foreseeable future, grow our reserves at a much accelerated rate, and continue improving the quality of our roads and service.”
Lastly, with regard to InnServices, the town’s water and wastewater facilities, Counc. Daurio states that “we are now projecting a protracted development period and fewer jobs — translating to higher water rates to cover annual carrying charges for a huge debt for a long time. This prospect is nothing like the rosy one painted for us, but a lot like the one I predicted. We’ve sent the whole mess back to staff to consider options that would better align servicing costs with actual needs. I will never support a plan that has taxpayers and/or water users subsidizing these services.”
Daurio plans to introduce his motion asking the Board of InnPower to explore options to sell or partner with Alectra and/or other utilities that have demonstrated interest at the June 07 2017 council meeting.