Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Editorial: Oh no, a tax hike!
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 3 Feb 2006, p. 6

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A collective groan can be heard throughout Halton Hills as readers read about the $51 increase on their tax bills this week. Added to the Region and school board tax bills, the average homeowner, with a house assessed at $300,000, will be paying $101 more in taxes compared to last year. Town treasurer Ed DeSousa attributes this increase to playing catchup for all the years of zero per cent tax increases in the 1990s. Neglected infrastructure like roads and buildings (fire station and libraries) are crumbling and services such as in the planning, building and recreation departments are overburdened. Priorities had to be set. This year it was fire services, including a fire station for Georgetown South and services for the disabled such as an improved transit system and closed captioning of council meetings. In future years, it could be the Halton Hills Public Library branch's turn or maybe something else. As we learned early in the budget debates there are $67 million worth of projects that remain unfunded this year. Roads will continue to be priority as the two per cent dedicated tax for pavement management remains on tax bills until at least 2008. But where is the money coming from? To pay for it taxes have to increase or services reduced further and that puts council in a "rock and a hard place" as Councillor Bob Inglis calls it. For years, Halton Hills council has been touting the winfall that the 401/407 Gateway Business Park could be for future budgets-- but that has yet to be realized. Residential taxpayers continue to pay the bulk of the taxes and that is unlikely to change for several years yet to come. If the Town's budget priorities are not yours, now is the time, particularly in this municipal election year, to say so.

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3 Feb 2006
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DeSousa, Ed
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Editorial: Oh no, a tax hike!