This week, we interrupt the series on a greener Port Hope to bring you another important message — a million-dollar question. A million is a lot of money and right now Port Hope Council is playing high stakes poker with the taxpayers’ ante. Actually, itÍs only about $940,000. The politicians and backroom managers are playing it close to the vest but there’s a chance they might be ‘dealing from bottom of the deck’ as the recommendations on new taxes are being presented at a public meeting Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m., Town Recreation Centre. It’s your money, so you might want to be there.
In May 2012, Council set up the Area Rating Working Group (three council members, five citizens) and its mandate was to make recommendations for a “fair and equitable area rating” for taxes in Ward 1 and Ward 2. It was a good idea and after extensive work the Committee prepared to make recommendations, and then the rules changed. Initially, Mayor Linda Thompson, Deputy Mayor Jeff Gilmer and Councillor Rick Austin were non-voting members and the citizens were the voting members — until the rules changed. Now, the politicians have taken over the Committee and will present the ‘final options.’ Why, after 18 months of substantial deliberation by the citizens, did the politicians usurp them? With almost a million bucks on the table could it be that the politicians didn’t like the Committee’s recommendations?