I don't often use this column for political conversation, but recently I have been dumbfounded by the amount of misinformation I've been receiving, regarding my property taxes.
Social media, letters to the editor and general conversation with people who don't seem to have a handle on accuracy, has left me totally in the dark. Fortunately, last week I had an opportunity to host a show where the Mayor and CAO were guests. I decided to ask what the actual tax numbers were.
The information I discovered is strictly factual and not politically motivated. The reason the numbers are what they are, is not relevant to the purpose of this column, nor are opinions as to why they are what they are. It is important to note, these numbers pertain only to Scugog Township.
There are three property taxes payable: industrial, commercial and residential. Any numbers quoted by the Township are strictly residential. It is also important to note the owners of properties are responsible for payment of the taxes, not tenants (although I am sure it shows in the rent).
The Township collects the property taxes on behalf of three entities. The first being the Township, the second the Region, and the third being the Province. The Provincial portion is for education.
The first question I had was how are my tax dollars broken down? 30% Goes to provide services by the Township, 56% goes to the Region and 14% to the Province (for education). The total increase over last year for residential in Scugog, is 2.58%. This is made up of 1.5% for the Township, 1.08% for the Region and 0% for education.
My next question was how does this compare over last year? In 2020 the increase was 1.89%, so it's up a quarter of a point. This is mainly because the Province lowered the education portion last year. There also seems to be a question about reserves. The best way to explain it, is to treat a reserve like a savings account. If I want to buy a new car and I don't have any money in my savings account, then I have to dip into my regular account, which means something else won't get paid. The Township reserves are similar, in that money is set aside for such things as roads, facilities, parks, fire etc. Are the amounts justified? I don't have an answer and that is something you should ask your Counsellor.
I'm not saying I agree with the amounts of increases, because quite honestly, I don't know enough about how it's being spent. I do know that we elect officials to do this on our behalf, and for the most part, they are receptive to listening and explaining. All you have to do is ask.
At least now I know my taxes are going up 2.58% this year, and I can once again budget accordingly... and sleep at night.