August 2, 2012,
I posted regarding the upcoming Franchise Fee Increase scheduled for Jan 1, 2013.
Think about this a three-year budget was passed early this year with much fanfare over taxes only going up 2.5% each year. Imagine if council had announced that the taxes were going up 7.5% in the second year. Taxpayers would have been out raged, there would have been editorials, letters to the editor denouncing our local leaders and tax collectors.
No the majority remained happy and said “2.5% that not bad” but then the light came on and people began to realize it is not 2.5% it is really 7.5%. I have been asked repeatedly how do you get 7.5%? Simple back to Franchise Fees. These are a hidden tax that the vast majority of the public does not even know exists; they go on you gas and power bill and are then paid to the municipality.
The dollar amounts on these items $211,980 on the gas bills and $124,965 on the power bills for a total of $336,945 right out of the tax payers pockets no different than if they had increased our property taxes by an equivalent amount. Remember every $65,000 is the equivalent of a 1% tax increase so $336,945 is very close to 5%, on top of the 2.5% announced previously by council “7.5%”.
How does the Ratepayers fit in to this equation, well before these Franchise Fees can be imposed very have to be approved by council, that process began last night. Due to what I believe is the fact that most of our local politicians do not like the outcry being expressed publicly over the last few months with a group of concerned taxpayers coming together and forming the Ratepayers Association plus a number of there members sitting in the public gallery last night. Council blinked (At least for one meeting) when administration brought the Franchise Fees forward last night. There was discussion from Councilors Gallant, Saindon and Gail about the hardship of this type of increase, maybe the possibility of looking at other areas to raise additional revenue. Never once did I hear anyone suggest that maybe the municipality could reduce spending by $336,945.
The outcome; administration is going to bring this issue back on September 18; groups like the ratepayers need to keep up the pressure. People need to understand that speaking up at a town hall meeting or at the local coffee shop is great. Those are the voices of individuals; politicians only listen when they hear the voices of many.