Standard Freeholder VS Mayor Jim Bancroft? How High Will Taxes Rise in South Stormont in 2015? by Jamie Gilcig

bancroft notesCORNWALL Ontario – A simple first paragraph of  a news story has set off a fire storm of controversy between South Stormont Mayor Jim Bancroft and his council and the Standard Freeholder.

A need to set aside money for reserves to help pay for future projects is driving a 12.2% increase in the amount of property taxes South Stormont Township is budgeting for in 2015.

The township had actually cut taxes for the last year and term under former Mayor Bryan McGillis as the township tried to alleviate MPAC raises to property values.  He spoke with CFN Wednesday afternoon via telephone from his home in Bonville.

Mayor Bancroft issued a statement at Township Council Wednesday night and covered by Reg Coffey in the South Stormont News.

In his statement he claims the story in the Standard Freeholder is not completely accurate. Mayor Bancroft said that the 12 % increase statement did not come from his mouth and it is not on any written document.

Hugo Rodrigues, emailed a response to CFN this morning where he made his position clear regarding the Freeholder story.

CAJ Prez Hugo Rodrigues

The revenue from property taxes is going up 12.2% according to the Feb. 11 draft of the budget posted on the township’s website. The overall budget — all spending with all revenues — is actually posed to go up more than 17%. Go ahead, do the math for yourself. Any suggestion those numbers are fabricated is absurd and desperate political move to try and explain away the increased spending included in this draft budget.

Earlier this year, we committed that in our budget reporting, those numbers are the ones we would report.

Reporting on any impact to an individual’s tax bill is a guessing game until the big number is finalized. To calculate any tax bill, a municipality needs to know how much money it needs to collect from all ratepayers in total to meet the expenses in the budget. Once it knows that and the total assessment, then it can calculate tax rates for each property class.

But even with the tax rates set, if your property’s assessment is increasing, it’s that new assessed value that will be multiplied by the tax rate to generate your bill. So if my property is worth $199,000 for this tax year, it’s a $57.39 increase? Well, if my assessment is on the increase — say because my property was worth $195,000 last year — then I’m going to be paying more than a $57.39 increase when I compare my final 2015 tax bill to my final 2014 tax bill.

Average values aren’t accurate. They’re averages. Reporting on them and sharing them as though they were an accurate depiction of what the change on any one property tax bill will be is misleading. People see the “average” increase and they stop there. Then they get their actual tax bill — with a different number almost every time — and get angry. There was nothing in our story — nothing — suggesting tax bills or taxes for the average home were going up 12.2%. Any suggestion otherwise is also absurd.

What’s not misleading is reporting on how much more money the budget proposes to spend. That’s what we’ve done. In a political environment in Cornwall and SDG where the Community Action Group made an issue out of comparing the taxes people pay here versus there without any useful context and where six of 11 in Cornwall pledged to “roll back”

And finally, if South Stormont council members have concerns with the Standard-Freeholder’s reporting, they’re always welcome to contact me directly to address those concerns. None have done so when it comes to this article.

Hugo Rodrigues
Managing editor, digital and print
Cornwall, Ont.
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  1. David, maybe in May the Cons will choose a leader who the voters can support in the next election. If they go with either McNaughton or Brown, we’ll know that they still aren’t ready to govern the province. BTW, you can’t blame the Libs for the Cons blowing (throwing) the last two elections.

  2. I’m talking about Harper’s continual attack on our security. He likes to hide things in his bills. I remember one time he hide increased police duties in a ,bill and called it protecting children. Harper is sneaky and has to go.

  3. And let’s not get started on Harper’s sidling up to Big Telecom to control the Internet. And if we really want to get started on Harper there is the government’s continual insistence that there is no collusion amongst Big Oil to the continual screwing of the consumer.

  4. Furtz the Cons have been the master of their own demise as have been the electorate of Ontario. No one political party is responsible for Ontario’s state of affairs rather it has been an uniformed electorate that has in its ignorance voted in the same direction expecting different results. Kind of mirrors one of the definitions of insanity.

  5. My mistake Hugger1 I thought that maybe you were talking of fact not fiction or fear mongering. You are definitely entitled to an opinion regardless of whether it is entrenched in reason or emotion. Further to your conspiracy theory regarding oil and the consumer you might want to consider why Quebec, the perpetual have not contribute nothing province, does not develop its vast oil reserves. Regarding the internet, what are you talking about when you reference control? Do you mean censorship, restricted access or are you referring to attempts to shut down or block terrorist portals?

  6. So, you think there has been no collusion amongst Big Oil? It’s just coincidence that prices rise at different brands and fall at different brands at the same time. Of course the gov’t won’t find collusion they rake in too much in tax revenue.

    As for the Internet I am referring to internet net neutrality.

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