I read with concern recent articles in the local press regarding the proposed draft of the 2015 budge. I question if this is not part of a “softening-up statement” so that we will accept an increase of perhaps half that value. Any increase in this economy is unacceptable; Uxbridge tax payers should demand nothing less. 2014 saw a municipal property tax increase of 5.5 per cent which was twice that of several neighboring municipalities. Are we not already the highest taxed municipality in Durham Region?
Granted, Uxbridge has received $500,000 less in provincial funding. Other communities are experiencing the same short fall, however, their tax increases are contained to less than four per cent largely due to efficiencies and aggressive economic development committees that promote their communities and attract new business to assist in shouldering the tax burden.
Where is Uxbridge’s latest Economic Development Plan for the next three to five years? The latest version – “Vibrant North Durham – An Economic Development Plan – Ideas and Actions” – is almost two years old. Which actions were completed or on-going and where are the results? The key question is: What growth in property assessments has Uxbridge enjoyed over the past two years? My guess is very little, if any, by virtue of comments by council members regarding tax increases.
My business career included the responsibility for business operations in Canada and the U.K. During my 30 year tenure, several difficult economic down-turns were experienced at which time tough decisions were made. Visiting plant and division operations and driving significant cutbacks. Yes, this did include people... that’s the grim reality.
Uxbridge’s present financial situation, which will not improve unless changes are made, requires our Council to understand that we cannot continue to do business as it has done previously. The intent to keep Uxbridge unchanged and a cloistered quaint little town no longer works. Our council must be encouraged to accept initiatives that will bring business and development – encouraging investment and its stakeholders “to park their tent here.”