Bad Management & Council Lead to High Taxes in Cornwall Ontario by Jamie Gilcig 100218

Cornwall Ontario – The city likes to give out voodoo numbers when it comes to tax increases, but the bottom line is the bottom line.  If you raise taxes nearly 20% per term without increasing revenues something always gives out.

Even worse, if you borrow money to pay for a tax increase, as Cornwall did this year, you now are paying the piper and their interest.   Credit card cheque to cheque living is not good for a community’s bottom line.

So we conducted an experiment to see what your tax bill would be for a MPAC assessed property of $250,000 in Cornwall and then compared it to other nearby communities.

In Cornwall according to the city’s tax calculator, the municipal and education tax would come out to a whopping $4042.08.   That does NOT include water and sewage.

What’s scary about this chart from the city of Cornwall website is that it’s more expensive for residential taxes in Cornwall than Ottawa, Kingston, and even Brockville Ontario.   And while a limp argument can be made for Kingston and Ottawa being larger cities, Brockville is nearly half the size of Cornwall.

Add in the lack of services and poor quality of what does exist and the question turns to what the heck is the City of Cornwall doing with all this dosh?   And why are residents putting up with the tax rape?

Many aren’t.  While the official population of Cornwall is 46,000 the probability is that there are now less than 40,000 living in the city.   Many people are leaving including seniors.  Some to the nearby townships, but many are moving to Quebec.

Think about that for a second.   How bad is it in Cornwall that people are choosing Quebec and their special political sunny ways over actually living in Canada?

Looking at Cornwall’s chart one sees a few blaring items.  Over a third of the entire budget is devoted to Emergency services with police having an insane amount of the budget in a town that simply doesn’t have much crime.   What is Cornwall spending over $50K per day on?

This is where it gets scary.   The city is spending less than $600 of that $4k on infrastructure and roads.    They claim to be spending about $400 on recreation and parks?  How does that work?  Really?   Does that tell you how much the White Elephant that the Benson Centre is, is costing us?

And eventually you simply have to fix infrastructure.

$116 goes to the library which seems extremely excessive.  I have nothing against libraries, but at what point do you stop pumping in cash without getting warranted value back?   And now Flipper and friends want to add in a full service art centre which should be in the library building in the first place.   How much extra will that cost yearly to taxpayers?  How many White Elephants can Cornwall afford?

We’re nearly paying as much for admin as we do for road repair and snow clearing.   Ding!  Give the young person a cookie for seeing a red flag on that one too.

It certainly is a scary picture compared to say… Ottawa, which while it has challenges of its own, has a public that seems more determined to focus on the bottom line.

Ottawa is only $3,021.41 or 33% less than Cornwall!   Yes, it’s  larger city, but one with many more services and many good quality of life features that Cornwall simply doesn’t have.  While we have a derelict empty downtown strip, Ottawa has the Byward Market, the Glebe, and many other awesome nooks and crannies.

Ottawa spends less than $600 on fire and police.  Cornwall?  About $1350 or over double Ottawa.  Is there that much more fire and crime in Cornwall or is there really really bad management, corruption, and cronyism?

Kingston is about $3200 per year.  They have an amazing police service.  First rate healthcare, an amazing waterfront, and good quality of life that is raising their property values. And really friendly and supportive city staff.

Brockville, which is smaller than Cornwall, came in at $3594.57.

With a municipal election coming up we have at least one Candidate, Elaine MacDonald, who said that raising taxes was good.   She must be very happy with her tax bill in Cornwall then.   Of course not all of us live off of retired school teacher pensions.

Our CAO, Maureen Adams, was the city’s chief financial officer for years before becoming CAO.  Taxes have skyrocketed since she took the job.  Clearly she doesn’t seem to have a handle on managing her money, certainly not as well as Sean Adams seems to?

While there really aren’t a lot of options in this election locally to vote for if you want to try and reign in the tax rape of Cornwall, there are a few.

As the old saying goes:

You get the government you deserve!

In the meanwhile expect more tax increases of larger amounts during the next four years.  It’s a scary time to live in Cornwall if you’re living on a fixed income, and clearly we are losing people and scaring off others.

And we’re not even going to talk about how Cornwall Hydro is now more expensive than Hydro One which should see rates become even better under the Ford Government.

Are you fed up with corruption and bad management in Cornwall?  You can post your comments below.


  1. One word…..WOW!!!!

  2. Thanks Jamie this is a good article. I do no think many people are listening. The argument about bigger cities is very lame. Taxes here are outrageous. A city trying to live in a million dollar house. It can’t afford a $100 a month mortgage. When I grew up here in the east end we were poor but we were happy. I did not care about the issues. Now I have to pay the taxes.

  3. Author

    Elaine MacDonald told CBC radio that the city had to raise taxes because of the MPAC reimbursements. That alone should be reason to make sure she’s never elected again and someone be fired at City Hall. Because our taxes will be raised because of something the city did have control over.

  4. ARE YOU FOLKS GONE COMPLETELY INSANE TO PAY FOR SUCH A TINY TOWN? Jamie I couldn’t believe my eyes at that chart. Thank God that we sold our house many years ago because that would have killed us literally. OMG we got out in time – the fastest move that anybody has ever made. The tire marks might still be left on the pavement. Ottawa is over a million people and I am roaring with laughter.

  5. Drain the swamp of managers, as well as council, mayor and everything else. OMG I can’t get over the shock. This is PURE NUTS TO THE CORE. I am in a state of shock. I need air after seeing this. OMG! Cornwall is finished like I said before Jamie. No wonder seniors are leaving town. If they leave town the way we did there would be skid marks all over the place.

  6. The song remains the same and the tune never changes. Truly sad!!

  7. An absolute disgrace and a failure to the public…again. How many times do you need a crack at the bat before realizing that perhaps you shouldn’t be in public office!

  8. Hugger for some excitement I will have to go down to Cornwall on Halloween as Icabob Crane as the Headless Horseman like the book from high school years – that was many moons ago. I would literally scare the hell out of everyone with a pumpkin as my head. LOL LOL. ROLF! That would really shake things up in Cornwall so that people would come to their senses and throw management and council out.

  9. Author

    As long as we get a photo for CFN Jules.

  10. That would be one hell of a photo Jamie. The people of Cornwall would be shocked out of their minds and ready for the booby house. Well something has to excite Cornwall and awaken them out of their deep sleep and you would think that those taxes and utility bills would have done the trick. This is really crazy Jamie. OMG no wonder seniors and everyone is leaving Cornwall – there is nothing.

  11. Arrggghhhh!!!!!

  12. If a bus driver can be mayor then I would have it easy to run as mayor. I promise not to throw anybody under the bus. LOL LOL. ROLF! What a town!

  13. HANG ON TO YOUR SHORTS! Just this morning while in the car hubby and I heard that prices are going up on houses before they come way down. To live in Cornwall and pay high stakes for such a tiny town one has to be literally nuts to the core. I was thinking about Cornwall when I heard that. People who work making good incomes have a hard time with house prices and everything.

  14. Blame NAFTA /USMCA on house prices going up. Somehow the Bank of Canada thinks it gives them the privilege to raise the interest rate. To say the least Arrggghhhh!!!!!

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