BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: The Scugog Township Action Committee, a group of involved citizens who share concers regarding increasing taxes in the Township, held a meet and greet for local municipal candidates on Sunday, July 27.
The backyard event, hosted by Cheryl Helm at her Castle Harbour Dr. home, attracted the attendance of numerous curious and likeminded residents, as well as two prospective Ward Councillors and hopeful mayoral candidate Tom Rowett.
“The STAC is just a group of Scugog residents who feel there is a need for change in our community,” explained Ms. Helm. “We formed a research group to look into financial issues in the Township, and wanted to share ideas and information.”
Ms. Helms stated that her concern began when the property tax on her lakefront home increased by 52.5 per cent over the last eight years, and that her questions to the current council have been met with concerning responses.
“After we did some research and went to Council meetings, we realized it’s time to put some new choices into the coming municipal elections,” said Ms. Helm. “Each candidate doesn’t share the same agenda, but we have the same goals in mind - the betterment of our community.”
Don Kett, running alongside Bill McKee to replace incumbent Ward 3 Councillor Jim Howard - had this to say.
“I am a 40 year resident of Scugog Township, and have spent the last 27 years living on Scugog Island - if elected, I plan to advocate for the rights of the people living on Scugog Island.
Some of my first steps have been setting up a buyer’s group for propane and fuel oil, in order to get energy and heating prices down.
Islanders have some of the highest taxes in the Township, and we don’t recieve the luxuries or benefits we deserve.
Scugog Island is different than anywhere else in the Township, and has its own special needs and requirements - I’m running as an Islander, for the Islanders.”
Jennifer Back, who is challenging incumbent Ward 5 Councillor Howard Danson for his seat, voiced the following opinion.
“Raising a family in Port Perry has been wonderful, but I am growing increasingly concerned about the decisions made by our current Mayor and Council.
I would like to work on improving roads, sidewalks and infrastructure, and bringing taxes in-line with inflation. We’re looking at another major increase next year, unless we can find efficiencies and save more money more effectively.
In Ward 5, the current Council is planning on building a park and recreation area, but they haven’t accepted input from any of the local residents. We don’t have many children in this area, and spending thousands of dollars on concept drawings for a park that was deemed ‘too expensive’ is a waste.
I am a wife, mother, community volunteer and business owner - looking to lower taxes and stop spending what we don’t have.”
Tom Rowett, hopeful candidate for Mayor of Scugog Township, is running against incumbent Mayor Chuck Mercier - at the event, he expressed his ideals of action for Scugog.
“Right now, local businesses and residents are being driven away by high taxes. We have to make it affordable for residents to live and businesses to operate in Scugog and Durham Region.
We need efficiency, accountability and respect for the taxpayers and their hard-earned money. We need to encourage businesses to grow by cutting red tape and thinking outside the box.
Our residents, business owners and farmers have some great ideas - I think the Township needs to build a platform that supports open and honest communication of ideas. If elected, I want to change policy so that Council can more easily take suggestions, and put them into action faster.
I am the co-owner of 1st Financial Centre, and last year my wife and I bought Homestead Furniture and Appliances, which has been in this community since 1976. I will bring my knowledge as a financial planner and a small business owner to the table to address the concerns of the residents of Scugog.”
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