Property tax revenue is the main source of income for the district: It’s what we use to pave roads, replace pipes, build infrastructure, run programs, and pay staff to do all of the above.
People tend to dislike paying taxes, but they usually enjoy the benefits of having paid taxes. Council tries to keep taxes as low as possible, consistent with staying on top of things like infrastructure maintenance and keeping the district running. Previous councils arguably haven’t kept up with demand, which translated into this council’s 8% tax increases in 2015 and 2016 (dropping to 2% for the rest of the five-year budget).
So here’s a tax issue i’ve been wrestling with: permissive tax exemptions. That’s when council decides to exempt certain properties from the property tax that every landowner pays to the district each year, because those properties are perceived to offer a benefit to the community at large. Continue reading
Here are my notes on the recent council grant awards. I’m not speaking for council here, just giving my impressions of how the conversation went, in hopes that the info will be of use to local nonprofits in future applications.
Big picture, the district has three grant streams available:
- RMI event grants (for events that fit RMI criteria; awarded by council)
- arts & culture grants (decided this year by public “Participatory Budgeting” process)
- council grants (awarded by council)
Each has its own criteria and application deadline. The first two have been awarded already, and we settled the council grants at our 4-May meeting. Continue reading
I had an interesting experience at last week’s council meeting. I made a motion — one i thought a no-brainer, that everyone would of course be on board with — and moved it, carefully worded … and nobody seconded it. That means it dies, falls off the table, is not even discussed. That could be embarrassing, except it wasn’t; i saw it at once as an object lesson in politics. Continue reading
I just returned from a sudden family visit to St. Catharines. Pleasant enough couple of weeks, and i do enjoy southern Ontario’s summer heat (until the humidex tops 35 degrees). But as with previous visits, i noticed again that whenever i go, i almost instantly compromise almost all the principles i live by, back home in BC. Continue reading
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the local (St. Catharines) 24-hour Starbucks, where there is wi-fi and a constant slew of people, students to retirees, most with computers, banging away at assignments or blogs or novels or who-knows-what. Continue reading