MidlandCommunity.ca finds Stephan Kramp’s promise to “eliminate Development Charges” irresponsible and, frankly, impossible to deliver.
First, let’s address the “irresponsible” part. When the town constructs services and facilities to accommodate new development, those costs must be paid for, and the money must come from somewhere. If Development Charges (DCs) are eliminated completely, then all those costs go direct to the property tax bill. This gamble can only pay off for Midland residents if there is a sudden upswing in building permits and resulting taxes received by the town. Otherwise the gamble just increases property taxes that are already the highest in the region and further discourages people from purchasing homes or businesses in Midland. You don’t take a gamble like this on a hunch!
Second, let’s address the “impossible” part. Midland Town Council, led by Mayor Gord McKay, has already made the responsible decision to freeze Development Charges in order to attract developers to our Town. Without the support of Council, any promises to eliminate DCs will never be delivered, and that will become just be another election promise that wasn’t kept.
Yet Mr. Kramp has made that promise. He knows full well that he lost the motion in an 8-1 vote and that he has no means to push it through, and yet he still claims he will eliminate DCs. A private citizen wrote to us with first-hand experience on the Ad Hoc Committee for Development Charges, and he clearly saw the DC discussion in a different light.
We encourage you to read his story below. Your informed vote matters.
Response to Mr. Kramp on Development Charges:
This response is written with considerable disappointment regarding Mr. Kramp’s behaviour. Mr. Kramp is currently running for the position of Mayor. I can no longer remain in the background while Mr. Kramp, provides misinformation and expects Midland residents to accept it without question.
Following is a summary of Mr. Kramp’s recommendations surrounding development charges in Midland. A committee was struck by Council “for the purpose of reviewing the issues presented to Council concerning how development charge policies and levels relate to financial planning and economic development issues in the Town”.
Throughout the election campaign Mr. Kramp’s position on development charges and attendance at key meetings has been inconsistent as outlined below.
- Midland Cultural Centre all Candidates Meeting:
Mr. Kramp stated, as mayor of Midland, he would eliminate development charges to stimulate residential, commercial and industrial growth within Midland. According to consulting firms hired by several municipalities, there is no evidence that elimination of development charges will stimulate development in any municipality, only conjecture.
- Ad Hoc Development Charges Study Working Committee:
Mr. Kramp had an opportunity to affect a change and share invaluable information that he has gleaned from, unnamed sources, regarding experiences with the allocation of development charges by sitting as a member of the Ad Hoc Development Charges Study Working Committee to study this matter and make its recommendation to council. He did not take full advantage of this unique opportunity. Following is Mr. Kramp’s lack of commitment to this committee:
- At the first meeting, Mr. Kramp did not attend.
- At the second meeting, without input or discussion with other members of committee or acknowledging their value, Mr. Kramp asked for a vote on the freezing of fees. This demonstrated a complete lack of commitment and respect for the opinions of the other members of the committee.
- At the third meeting, Mr. Kramp did not attend.
- At the fourth meeting, based upon input from unnamed sources regarding Brockville, Mr. Kramp put forth a motion, without discussion, to eliminate all development charges. He cited a conversation with an unnamed Brockville councillor. In fact, Brockville had just voted to reinstate fees since the elimination of development charges did not work.
- At the final meeting, Mr. Kramp did not attend. Based upon input and research by the remaining committee members, a proposal was put forward outlining recommendations on how Midland should address development charges over the next term of their Development Charges By-Law. The recommendations were voted upon and passed by unanimous vote.
- Mayoral Meet & Greet- October 7th:
Ignoring the committee’s decision, Mr. Kramp stated that as mayor he would eliminate development charges for 3 years and then review the financial impact. Please note that this is the 4th different position on the subject put forth by Mr. Kramp. In the same free talk, Mr. Kramp stated that keeping tax increases at or below the rate of inflation would be a primary focus of his term as Mayor. Does Mr. Kramp actually understand the concept of “fiscal responsibility”? In order for development to take place the developer must be expected to fund the necessary infrastructure, otherwise the cost will become the burden of the tax payer. Responsible developers anticipate the need to pay for services provided. To understand the issues one must actually show up, and be on time, for meetings.
- October 20th council meeting:
At the general council meeting of October 20th, the motion passed by the Working Committee was presented for discussion and voted upon, by council. Mr. Kramp spoke eloquently of the experiences of municipalities who had eliminated development charges. There was no comparative information presented. No sources given. However, a clearer picture emerged as a result of other people following up with the sources to which Mr. Kramp referred.
Input from Mr. Villeneuve, Director of Finance, who had spoken directly with the Town of Brockville, stated the opposite of what Mr. Kramp presented as fact. Mr. Crown, Director of Planning and Building Services, also presented facts that opposed Mr. Kramp’s. Councillor Glen Canning presented further information based upon his own research. It showed that the Town of Kingston had eliminated development charges hoping to stimulate growth. The desired growth did not occur and the loss of revenue was considerable. The town of Kingston has reinstated a Development Charges By-Law. After the discussion the motion was found to be in the best interest of Midland and passed 8 to 1. Mr. Kramp being the dissenting vote.
Actions speak louder than words. Mr. Kramp speaks of his leadership ability and ability to work with council, staff and the community. However, his actions clearly demonstrate a disregard for colleagues, an unwillingness to acknowledge facts and a general lack of leadership skills.
George A. Barber