Puslinch Residents Concerned About Tax Increases

Mayor and Township Councilors

Puslinch Township Council:

Thank you for providing the opportunity for the taxpaying residents to have some input into the budget and to Paul Creamer for doing an excellent presentation as he tried to explain the process and results.

To reiterate what I said on Thursday night:

  • The Township has a spending problem – you are living way beyond your (our) means.
  • You need to take a long, hard look at the expenses and distinguish between “need” and “want”.
  • With MPAC, the majority of residents are going to see a tax increase anyway, so the actual tax increase is more than 5.12%.
  • While I think using only the MPAC increase for the budget would be nice, I could live with a maximum increase of 2%.
  • Don Creed clarified my question regarding Victoria Road. However, these large projects still need to be looked at to see if they can be done more cheaply (there is always a Plan B).
  • Over the years, the taxes have gone up astronomically and the people on fixed incomes are running out of options.
  • 7Next year’s capital budget for the Township is a nightmare. The County is talking a 6.2% increase. The low loonie and attendant living cost increases will not help. Where are we supposed to get the money to pay for the inevitable huge tax increase that will be coming?

What I didn’t bring up (and one point was raised):

  • Over the past 5 years we have been “planned” and “studied” to death at great expense. This approach is more suited to very large cities or corporations (businesses) – and municipalities are service providers, not businesses. We are a small, rural township and the Master Recreation Plan, as an example, was geared more to a large, urban area than the Township. We didn’t need the plan and we can neither afford nor need the results.

    I also question the rationale behind the 10-year Strategic Plan. I didn’t attend the meeting but I quote from the Wellington Advertiser (January 22, 2016):

    “Residents need to ask whether the area will continue to be the township of Puslinch – or does it want to be? The answer I hear is “yes” (the consultant said) … but how are we going to do that?”

    We are spending money on this? The same consultant also admits the concepts will change over the 10 years – so, please, tell me why we are wasting money on this.
  • Someone mentioned the huge increase in the number of office staff over the last 5 years. I know there was a big staff turnover but, in this computerized day and age, is the increase really necessary? Does all the staff have to be full-time? In the good, old days we reorganized the workload instead of increasing staff. As noted, staffing is a huge component of our budget, it is an area that has to be looked at and, if we have to pay for an outside, impartial consultant (not chosen by staff) to do it, it may be money well spent.

Am I likely to get all I hope for? Probably not… but I sincerely hope that you realize the time of bleeding the taxpayers has to come to an end. Had we been provided opportunities in previous years to comment, you would have got the message a lot sooner.

Three points to stress: we are a small Township, a large percentage of residents live on a fixed income and we don’t have to “keep up with the Joneses“.

Sandra Solomon

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