Port Hope’s Taxation Review Open Houses – and the answers and detailed documents that need to be released

A  reminder about the Municipality’s “Municipal Taxation Review” Open Houses this week.

– Wed. March 5, from 2-4pm and 7-9pm at Canton Municipal Office, 5325 County Rd. 10
– Thurs, March 6 from  from 2-4pm and 7-9pm at Town Park Recreation Centre, 62 McCaul St.

The format for these open houses, aside from a facilitator being hired, has not been released.

It is important that you attend and ask questions.

The following material should be at the Area Rating Taxation Open Houses this week, and if it isn’t there, you should demand it:

1) Detailed 2013 Budget information
This detailed 2013 financial data was promised in the Staff report “Area Rating – Focus Group Final Report” that was presented to Port Hope Council on January 7th which stated:  “Following the principled approach in Stage 1 [of the Area Rating Review Process], further detailed 2013 Budget information will be made available.”  (page 3 of 5).
To date, this promised “further detailed 2013 Budget Information” has not been released. If you ask for it and are referred to the existing 2013 budget data on the municipal website, that is NOT the promised level of detail. The website file for 2013 does not contain the same level of detail that years 2011 and 2012 did.
Since staff were able to provide a detailed breakdown for 2011 and 2012, and since detailed 2013 budget information was promised and has not yet been delivered, it is imperative that the promised detailed 2013 budget data is released to the public. Without knowing the actual amounts which are being spent on the various services/departments for each Ward it is impossible to determine whether either Ward is paying their fair share of any service.
If the promised “detailed 2013 Budget Information” hasn’t been released by the Open Houses, you should demand it.

2) Evaluation Sheet
The Council-appointed Focus Group developed an Evaluation Chart of 29 services/departments to be filled in by residents and used as part of the community consultation process. Insist on the 29 line Evaluation Sheet being explained with the financial numbers per line to justify any of the 29 services/departments being allocated as “Common” or “Special Service”.

3) A Compilation of the Area Rating Survey results
Staff reduced the required 29 line items in the Evaluation Chart to 17 combined items for their Area Rating Survey Report presented to Committee of the Whole in February. In some instances, 4 separate services were combined into one in the report and this hampered the reader’s understanding because potential common and special services were combined into one group.
There were 818 residents who filled out the survey. The municipality has many large binders full of the submitted survey sheets at town hall and PDFs of all the pages on the municipal website. However, without any compilation of results, the individual pages are useless.
If there isn’t a compilation of the all the survey results, you should demand it.

Please advise your friends and neighbours in both Wards who are concerned about tax rates and fair taxation for both Wards in Port Hope.. And come out to the municipality’s Open Houses – and bring your questions!

Port Hopers for Fair Taxes