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The newly elected Midland council provided the community with the opportunity to complete a survey regarding the upcoming 2023 budget. I think it is important that people give input to council to help them make decisions important to the community and how our tax dollars get spent.
I did complete the survey but wanted to provide additional information to the community and our new council.
Looking at the pamphlet that comes with our tax notice, the municipal tax went up by 3.72 per cent in 2019, 3.11 per cent in 2020, 3.56 per cent in 2021 and 4.5 per cent in 2022. The only reason the overall increase was less than that was because the county and education taxes were either reduced or kept at a zero per cent increase.
An article in the Midland Mirror in 2020 stated that Midland is the highest-taxed community in Simcoe County and one of the highest in the province. Mayor Strathearn at the time said the trick was to raise the average income in Midland. Very difficult to do with what businesses have been going through during the pandemic. Mayor Strathearn also stated that we need to increase our population and thus our tax base.
A MidlandToday article in February stated that the population increase in Midland was 5.4 per cent, 12.4 per cent in Penetanguishene, 10.5 per cent in Tay and 10 per cent in Tiny from 2016 to 2021.
Perhaps the population growth is the lowest because the taxes are the highest. I would think that if council doesn’t get our taxes back in line, people won’t be moving in but moving out.
In 2021 there was a petition to eliminate the tax increases but council totally ignored it. Tay, Tiny and Penetanguishene had small increases while Collingwood and Orillia had no increase. Midland had a 2.5 per cent increase and that is only because the county and education portion had a zero per cent increase. Town portion of taxes was a 3.56 per cent increase.
From 2019 through 2021 water and wastewater rates went up five per cent and four per cent every year. This also adds to the burden Midland residents are feeling.
People continue to feel the effects of the pandemic, the economy and inflation. Hopefully, council will run the budget like most people have to run their household budgets. If you don’t absolutely need it, you don’t buy it. If council needs more funds to support community facilities, increase user fees, not everyone’s taxes.
In closing, let’s all support our new council and help them to make informed decisions on our behalf.