Cornwall City Councillor Mark A MacDonald Hoping to Rescind Council Salary at Special Meeting – DEC 16, 2014

Cornwall SPRING 2012CORNWALL Ontario – If Mark MacDonald has his way council will be voting to rescind the whopping raises the Kilger team voted for themselves last term.

Returning to council after a four year hiatus Mr. MacDonald has been firmly in support in stemming the high taxes afflicting one of the lowest per capita income cities in Ontario.

Last term council voted to raise the Mayor’s salary by 20% and councilors by 40% in a city where there is a higher per capita population on fixed incomes.

It was a factor in why many voted out those that supported the raise including former mayor Bob Kilger.

Mr. Mac Donald circulated what hopes will be seconded at a special council meeting later this afternoon.

During the election the message from the Community Action Group was clear,  the reason why Cornwall’s growth continues to struggle is because people pay roughly 30% more taxes than our neighbouring townships.  That is why I signed the pledge to do everything in my power to “ROLL BACK” taxes.  

The new council must lead by example and we must work on reducing our own budget, it’s not time to be looking at a raise, it goes against everything that we signed for.  I am prepared to bring forward a “Notice of Motion” at the meeting this afternoon, if I can get a seconder.

The way that I understand the rules, if it’s a Notice of Motion we do not debate it today, we debate the motion at the next meeting.  It will give us time to discuss options for cutting our budget, such as a pay decrease or cutting back on the number of councillors that sit around the table.


Whereas it is a fundamental understanding that Cornwall’s growth continues to struggle due largely to the fact that our taxes are roughly 30% higher than in the neighbouring townships; and

Whereas 6 city councillors recognized this as an election issue and signed a pledge to “do everything in their power to “ROLL BACK” taxes; and

Whereas in order for this to happen the new council must lead by example and we must do everything in our power to “ROLL BACK” our budgets.

mark-ofl1-200x250Therefore be it resolved that the new council intends to address the issue that taxes are 30% higher in Cornwall than in neighbouring townships, this in turn causes Cornwall to never grow; and

Be it further resolved that we must do everything in our power to level the residential tax playing field; and

Be it further resolved that the issue of a raise for the new council be tabled.

Moved by  Mark A. MacDonald
Seconded by ?

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  1. Mark A. MacDonald is absolutely right and have you all noticed that the scoundrels all hike out of Cornwall and head for the lower taxes and they are usually the ones with the deep pockets that are well feathered with your money and take advantage of what Cornwall has to offer on your backs. When are the sheeple going to wake up instead of getting fleeced every year and for what. Others do not pay their fair share of taxes. The best is to amalgamate all areas and then you will see eyes open and feathers flying for sure. Something has to be done and done now. I have always liked Mark MacDonald and good for Mark keep it up Mark.

  2. Hopefully it’ll be rescinded. But I think they’ll put through a much more acceptable raise. What it’ll be is anyone’s guess. I think they should look at implementing a ward system in Cornwall. I’d suggest 5 wards with a councilor and 3 city wide councilors. But this would not take effect until the next election.

  3. I will find it interesting if this council manages to reduce taxes along the lines demanded by the Community Action Group. Many signed that piece of paper promising to reduce taxes but they clearly have not thought it through.

    If you want taxes reduced there is only one way to do it — cut costs. To cut costs you must either cut staff or cut services. You could also opt to do both. Council members who say they want to cut taxes should tell us now what services they want to chop when they look at the budget early next year. They may also want to tell us the number of people they want to take off the city payroll.

    I would also like to know how these tax cutters will come up with the money to offset the tax increase recently approved for water bills, something like 1.5 per cent. And please don’t tell me the water bill is for a service, it is a tax which property owners must pay.

    So again. to each member of council that signed that CAG document, what city services are you going to get rid of or what staff are you going to let go?

    And by the way, don’t tell me you will increase user fees. That’s just another tax with a different name. How about some honesty for a change…admit that reducing taxes in Cornwall either can’t be done or, if it is done, there are going to have to be severe cuts. And tell us which option you prefer — no tax cuts but services remain as they are, or tax cuts but services must cut. If the latter, outline what services you would remove or reduce.

  4. Enough of the amalgamation talk. It won’t happen. It’s been proven too many times that amalgamation costs more money, it doesn’t save money.

    I agree with Marc Pilote. To cut /freeze taxes services and / or staff will have to be cut. Let’s see some concrete ideas before the idea of cutting /freezing taxes is discussed.

  5. So councilor Andre Rivette said “I agree with the way it’s been put forward. I’m not sorry that I voted for it. We’re not doing this for the money. Let’s not go around saying councillors are being greedy (because) that’s bull!”

    So, if it’s not about the money what is the issue? If it’s not about the money why ask for a 40% pa increase? Either it’s about the money or it isn’t? Which is it?

  6. Author

    The reality is that some of the those on council or who ran for council needed the honorarium and perks. No foul there, but they should own it. If I wanted a raise I’d go and ask for it; fight for it if I had to, or find a better job.

  7. Admin….I agree. If you need it say so. But isn’t this a part-time gig for councilors? If any councilor is doing this full time they have their priorities in the wrong place. The only full time position should be the mayor’s. I would have no issues with them getting the same increase they gave the city employees 1 – 2%. But don’t try to say we haven’t had an increase in years, so the 40% is justified or needed.

  8. Marc, I agree with you 100% but i’d like to see staff (Admin) cuts, just look at Parks and Recreation Dept..Barely any concerts, no events being (brought in)but i see too many salaries in that Dept and several are in the sunshine club..I don’t understand that some are in the sunshine club but yet they’ve reduced the amount of rinks in the winter time and only a few pools in the summer time and they’ve let go of their security guards yet the same amount of staff. If there’s less services and employees you’d think we should have less staff, right?..Doesn’t make (cent$) to me… Other departments should be reviewed

  9. Cornwall is one of the towns at the bottom of the list of getting ahead and hard times are coming very soon and already people are out of work let alone what is coming. I am shocked that André Rivette asked for the raise and it could be one of the reasons why he was way down on the list of getting back in again. That Benson Centre is not needed at all whatsoever and should be either sold off or taken down. This is an albatross that is strangling the people and no professional hockey team is going to Cornwall at all and Cornwall cannot even keep an amateur hockey team on the go and a good thing that this man Mr. Moreau came along to buy the Kings. Yes I sure do believe in amalgamation and yes it is going to cost but why should Long Sault and all the other areas get a free ride – everyone has to pay the piper. Cornwall will not survive unless big changes are done. You have the new water system, there will be new sewers, etc. that are needed, roads to be maintained, snow to shovel and I can go on and on like the Everready Battery. So much has to be done and money has to come from somewhere. Yes council salaries are not much but when a town is in trouble you have to cut in places and one of the places is the council salaries but that is only the beginning. It sure will hurt a lot of people if their jobs are gone but what can you do when you have no other alternative.

  10. Jules, have you been to the Benson Centre? That place is always filled with activity. It replaced two aging rinks that could not be maintained due to maintenance costs. If the Si Miller or Bob Turner would have been kept it would have cost lots of money to clean up the asbestos in both of them and repairs needed to bring them up to code. The Benson Centre offers more than three NHL size rinks. It has a field house for soccer and tennis. It also has meeting rooms. The Benson Centre is definitely needed here. Oh and BTW, the area underneath the Benson Centre was remidated before the Benson Centre was built. I came across something when I was looking at the city council agenda dealing with the old Domtar property on Second St. W that said the Benson Centre property and the old Domtar property on 7th Street were remidiated before the new buildings were constructed.

    As for amalgamation if it were to happen who would pay for extending the water / sewer services to Long Sault, Ingleside, and St. Andrews west, etc.? It sure wouldn’t be the Cornwall taxpayers. And the suggested communities are too small to absorb the required costs involved. It’s been proven time and time again that amalgamation in Ontario has been a complete and utter failure. And if you think the province would pay those costs they won’t.

    I do agree that cutting costs are important. But it has to be done smart. You just can’t go in and slash. The Harper gov’t has proven that slashing with no plan doesn’t work. And any changes made to council now will not come into effect until the election of 2018. I see a lot of services that could be outsourced to private companies. But there has to be a will and a way to do it. And having rock solid union contracts does not help the city.

  11. Voters have selected I believe eleven qualified people to make decisions on their behalf. and we must give them a chance.

    But it does not mean we cannot offer what we believe to be constructive and positive opinions

    City Council need to start over on this issue. Many, myself included campaigned in part on rescinding the raise. I believe a promise is a promise and many on Council should agree to it. No study is needed as all knew what the pay scale was when they put their name forward and agreed to it. The consultants at a cost of some $ 9,000. were totally wrong. City Council needs to take action on this immediately and keep their promise to the taxpayers. I do not disagree with a raise but please no more than what you are giving your employees! If they decide to cut the number of council members that’s fine also as it would be a double whammy savings to the taxpayers. By the way good work on this one Mark MacDonald !!

    Mark Pilotte, the raise issue, a possible cut on the number of Councillors, and new assessments are starting points. Keeping municipal tax increase at 0 is not the problem, I truly believe it is easily done while maintaining and even increase services. People look at total cash outlay for their tax bills but forget that school taxes are in there as well. The city has no control on school tax increases and are mandated by the province to invoice and collect. In other words should the city not be sending out a separate invoice for the school boards? Then we would all know what we are paying for. People look at the bottom line on tax bills not realizing that perhaps higher taxes are as a direct result of higher school taxes. I’ve said for many years people do not take an interest in school board budgets and should. Who knows just maybe they are the sole culprits for the higher taxes, and if so why should the city be blamed. Maybe it is time to turn the tables around and let the school boards issue the tax bills and be mandated to collect taxes. I believe this would be a fair way of getting them under control because then the taxpayers could blame them for high tax bills.

    WHEW I’m long winded!!lol but serious.

  12. Water is going up everywhere and water will be the new oil in the not too distant future. People everywhere will have to cut on water consumption and even electricity and everything is going up in price. Food is a nightmare to go and shop. Many children in Cornwall are going to bed hungry while the rich don’t give a damn about them and live high on the hog as the old saying goes. Cuts are needed and people lived well in the past skating on outdoor rinks instead of maintaining “champagne tastes on a beer man’s budget” and this is how Cornwall is living when the vast majority are on some sort of social assistance or low paid and who does it benefit but the rich and the poor people get trampled on. Believe me many empty houses here in Canada and it is going to get a great deal worse very soon mark my word. You cannot have people from Long Sault, and other areas around Cornwall go and have a swim at the same price as those of Cornwall who are paying huge taxes on their homes and in Long Sault and other places they pay a lot less in taxes. Something has to happen and yes I believe in amalgamation and that way everyone pays the piper. There is no free ride at all. Things cannot continue in this way. Cornwall’s taxes are way too high as is and when we had our house we just screamed. My parents house was more like a garage in size and the taxes were outrageous back then and I can just imagine it today what the new owners are going through.

    It is like when you have a house and you see that you are over your budget and you have to look around to see what you can do without and yes it is painful but it has to be done or else you will go down or bankrupt. Many homes are standing empty because they are unaffordable. You wouldn’t believe the amount of homes that I have seen empty and for sale across the country and yes people are hurting badly everywhere and worldwide. Trim the jobs at city hall and that is a good start and all dead wood people sitting around and no work – make one person do the job of three people – I did that in the federal government in the late 80’s and I literally needed a pair of roller skates to get around in one place and had to handle everything and if more of this was done then we would have real workers and not dead wood just collecting a pay cheque and loafing around. Mark MacDonald get your pencils sharpened and get everyone on council doing just that – trim the fat. You do not need that albatross you call a Benson Centre at all like one needs a hole in their heads. Sell it or take it down brick by brick.

  13. Ask the taxpayers of the former city of Nepean how they liked amalgamation. Nepean had a surplus before being swallowed by Ottawa.

  14. Do you have stats to back up your claim “when the vast majority are on some sort of social assistance or low paid”?

    Charging non-residents extra for using Cornwall’s facilities (Aquatic Centre, indoor skating rinks, etc.) has been tried in other cities. After they realize the administrative systems and support needed to maintain such a system the idea of charging extra to non-residents is soon dropped. The extra money brought in does not cover the cost of the system or administering such a system.

    Agreed, there is is no free ride. And that’s what amalgamation ends up being. One (or more) smaller municipality gets the services of a larger municipality and who pays for it? Usually the larger municipality. The province certainly won’t entertain such an idea. Check the links out below on how well (??) amalgamation has done. If anything, pressure has been for municipal secession, not municipal amalgamation.


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  16. Hi Roland…good to see you here but I must disagree with your comment. As a member of CAG you must realize that the school board and city taxes are two different things that come on the same bill. To that extent I agree.

    However it is also true one can look at the city budget on its own and in my view this is the budget that CAG is zeroing in when it says it wants taxes lowered by city council. Your comment about school board taxes insofar as tax cuts for city taxpayers are concerned is nothing more than a red herring. We are looking at the city tax rate and to my knowledge that is what CAG is looking at when it goes to council.

    As for separate invoices, there are none but the bill for school boards and city taxes are clearly shown. Again what you say is a red herring because it is already being done.

    As for increase in assessment — that happens every year and the extra money usually is not as great as you may believe. When I covered council it usually just covered the increases in staff salaries. If you put the additional assessment into the budget rather that salaries, the budget numbers increase and taxes either must go up or services be reduced. You can’t use assessment funds twice.

    So…if you want taxes cut city council can only cut city taxes. That being the case, Roland and other tax cutters out there, please tell me where you are going to cut, what services would be reduced or eliminated and how many people you are going to let go and from what department. I put those questions in particular to members of city council that signed the CAG document.

    BTW…I notice that has changed too. It used to say taxes would be decreased. Now the CAG is saying they want to “do all in their power to roll back taxes.” That is quite a change but one that could be expected from politicians. No wonder I am so cynical.

  17. I personally think this is a step backwards.It should be full steam ahead.

  18. Marc L… you’re saying city council deserves a 40% raise?

  19. I’m very disappointed in Andre Rivette…Some were right about him, being in there for the money ONLY….I’m not surprised now to see that he finished in 10th spot for concil seat

  20. Hugger I remember Nepean under the leadership of the most capable mayor in Ontario’s history and that was Mayor Ben Franklin and yes Nepean was debt free. When the amalgamation took place in Ottawa with all the communities Nepean was the only one without a debt. The one with the most expensive debt was Kanata. Everyone is paying together to pay for all the debts.

    There is talk in the planning board of moving the Senators Hockey Team to Lebreton Flats here in Ottawa instead of Kanata because people find it way too far to go that distance. The city creates too many boondoggles and what are they going to do with the place in Kanata.

    Some years ago the city wanted to put the Fair outside of Ottawa in Metcalfe or somewhere out there on Highway 31. I was talking to my doctor’s secretary about that since she lives out in Greely and she said that it would cost a ton of money in water and sewers as well as roads. There is no more Fair in the Glebe. All you see now are humoungous high rise buildings in glass and steal (condos) and you cannot get into the football field like before with our car (you have to find parking elsewhere or take the OC Transpo bus or both. The place looks like hell hit it. Below are stores and one is Whole Foods (for the rich) of the Glebe area.

  21. A 40% raise for a part-time job!! Boy I’d like that. I only received 0.9% this year and it looks like 1.7% in 2015. But the taxpayers don’t like a 40% hike. And neither does the current city council. So, I guess we;ll see in January what city administration is suggesting as a good acceptable raise.

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