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.