June Council Report

Close up of a man's hands holding a pen and signing a document


Well Midland taxpayers, by now you should have received your final residential property tax bill.  It feels like we’re getting dumped on again after the deluge of rain lately.

While there should be no surprises given we’ve written about the town’s ambitious spending including hiring several new staff, many advise ‘it will hurt’ all the same.

The letter below was one of several sent to us from concerned Midlanders but this letter calls out the real pain as the writer understands numbers and cash flow. We will be following up with him to gauge his level of interest to run for Council in the next election as it’s obvious, skills do matter!

Instead of spending his discretionary left over pension monies on supporting local restaurants, attractions and retailers this homeowner falls victim to the tax man and the tax grab.

Please note your own 2019 tax increase expressed over 2018 may be higher or lower than this homeowner’s increase of 4.48%. This is because your 2016 MPAC property assessment is also part of the equation and is specific to the assessed value of your home. If your assessment went up more than the overall average then you’re experiencing the 4-year staged increase as well. If your 2016 assessment increase was at or below the overall average then your tax increase will be lower than the writer’s stated 4.48%.

Whatever the case for you individually, midlandcommunity.ca maintains that the 2019 budget is too rich and concludes Council is carrying on with ‘champagne tastes’ that are not sustainable.

A few budget highlights:

  • 2019’s planned spending is $1.1 million higher than last year’s budget;
  • The town’s portion of the increase is up +3.72% while County and Education are down (2.11%) and (5.29%) respectively
  • In two years, 2018-19, Midland will have added a total of 10 full time employees (excluding police).
  • Water and sewer rates are expected to increase 5% and 4% respectively on a compounded annual basis for many years to come;
  • Midland is borrowing future ‘projected’ savings from disbanding MPS to fund a large part of the spending increase;
  • We are in the middle of a Regional Government Review by the Ontario Government, which would suggest ‘cause to pause’.

Some will say, ‘this budget is in the books’, suck it up, write your cheques, and move on. But that fails to consider citizens struggling to make ends meet.

This was an irresponsible budget and council needs to get focused on removing costs and holding the line on staff additions.

Let’s hope our summer brings lots of sunshine to mitigate the effects of the distasteful medicine town hall served up.

What follows is the letter of concern from the pensioner we reference above:

Dear midlandcommunity.ca 

Re: Town of Midland 2019 Final Property Tax billing

Good afternoon.

I am writing as a retired resident of Midland to share my concerns about the above noted final Property Tax billing.

The final property tax billing, along with attached glossy pamphlet (I wonder how much that cost?), I personally found somewhat offensive. It appears to me the Mayor and Council are trying to downplay, or soften, the actual property tax increase. They have cleverly used an increase of 1.44% based on the amount per $100,000.00 of assessed value. My question is why?

Transparency and simplicity work well. I took the time, with my calculator, to simply divide the prior year actual full year property taxes paid into the increased dollar amount and multiply that by 100. This is the actual calculation and what matters to me- $172.77 Divided by $3,858.02 times 100 = 4.48%. The tax numbers are laid out on the reverse of the property tax billing

Having a 40+ year financial background to me this automatic. The actual hard dollar tax increase of 4.48% for 2019 is what affects your cash flow versus the misleading information contained in the glossy propaganda piece provided by the town. That cleverly states 1.44% per $100,000.00 of Assessed Value.

I also noted the stipulated Water & Sewer increases at 4 & 5% for 2019, well above the rate of inflation without benefit of any meaningful explanation.

I am sure I am not alone in my feelings. Retired seniors are for the most part on fixed income and to see increases of this magnitude leaves one feeling helpless.  I believe Midland is currently considered a retirement destination but with costs rising exponentially this could easily change.

Retired or not, this affects everyone’s financial position. With many younger people too on strict budgets, just to be able to own a home, increases of this magnitude definitely are felt. 

I appreciate your efforts on our behalf and hope this information if of some help.

A concerned senior homeowner in Midland.

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