Hello Ward 5!

Councillor Debbie Schaefer
Hello Ward 5 residents & businesses and the rest of King Township,

I am thrilled to continue as Councillor for Ward 5 in this ever so beautiful King Township!  I appreciate so much the trust that voters have expressed by voting for me.  I will work hard and creatively to serve the community for this next term of Council.

As I campaigned I not only had the opportunity to tell people about myself and what I wanted to accomplish, I also heard from residents about the issues and how they see them.  Top issue expressed is traffic (speed and volume) and parking.  A close second one is development, both subdivision development and development within the traditional/older subdivisions.  In King City, inadequate amenities were often flagged; this particularly frustrates some since new subdivisions have been built.   I heard from our rural businesses and homeowners that they need a significant improvement in broadband capability.  I also heard about substandard roads and sidewalks.

I heard clear confirmation that people expect and want our natural heritage to be protected.  I also heard relief that I stand for not changing the boundaries of King City and not increasing the population cap of 12,500 for King City.

Hearing all this only increased my desire to serve on Council for this term.  The Council of 2010-14 initiated and approved many strategies which address these issues.  We have some big challenges; but we have identified where we want to get to and how we are going to do so.

Debbie Schaefer

Builder for Project Move

At Council on Wednesday, Aug. 9 there is staff report recommending the contractor to build the new municipal offices and community facility.  There is report recommending a contractor to build it.  As reported the bid for the project including 2 additional options totals $13,078,450 is within the budget.  I think the two additional options of a wood athletic floor in the gym and a curtain divider in the gym are worthwhile additions in value for the community.  Both could be done at later but would cost considerably more that the $42,450 cost for including in the construction. I believe good value will be delivered with this project.  Having said that I do have a couple questions about a couple of the design choices we have made and want to review the wisdom of those choices.

Site Plan for Project MOVE

Here is a staff report recommending approval of site plan for MOVE assuming satisfactory resolution of several issues.  As I have expressed earlier I am very pleased with the significant ecological footprint of this project versus previous use.  In reading the report I am disappointed to see confirmation that York
Region does not support a traffic light at the site. I will be questioning whether there is anything can be done from a “design” perspective which will facilitate such at a later date as I think traffic lights are necessary.  To see the report, responses from agencies and drawings click here and scroll down to agenda item 8.1

Nobleton–Condor Properties

At Aug. 9 Council agenda there is significant report regarding development at MacTaggart Drive and Hwy 27.  To see the report and all drawings etc. click here and scroll to agenda item 9.3.  I have been following this development and am aware of the significant public engagement throughout the process.  From where I sit I think the Village of Nobleton should be very pleased with this new structure.

Property Tax: additional background

My recent post about the property tax increase solicited a strong response from Marc; it is in the comments section on right side of this page. As I was reflecting on how to respond I reviewed my post and realized that I had focused on discussing the change in assessments by MPAC and had failed to discuss why our tax rate is what it is.  The latter is driven by what is required by Township for its operating  and capital budget.

I asked our Director of Finance & Treasurer to help me explain further how the budget requirements drive the tax rate.

Each year, the Township reviews its operating and capital / infrastructure requirements to ensure adequate sources of revenues are accessible to support planned operating and capital needs.  At the same time, analysis is completed to evaluate the adequacy of contributions to reserves for purposes of establishing a sustainable financial framework that appropriately plans for long-term infrastructure needs (maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction) throughout the Township.

At no time in the 2017 budget planning cycle has the Township made the decision to request access to sources of revenues (i.e. through property taxation) from its residents that weren’t required or necessary.

However, the Township did make the decision in June of 2017, at the time of setting final tax rates for 2017, to increase its contribution to infrastructure reserves as a direct result of new information relating to infrastructure related needs (i.e. strategic land acquisition and accelerated capital works) that weren’t forecast to occur until 2019 or later.

In so doing, the staff recommendation to increase contributions to infrastructure reserves knowingly meant residents would be asked to contribute more in the form of property taxation to support infrastructure needs in direct correlation to the change in assessed value of their household.

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Property Tax Increase: questions and answers

As evident from letters to the editor in our local paper and from the phone calls & emails I have received a number of residents were very unprepared for the magnitude of their 2017 property tax increase.   I suspect all of us were very aware of the significant increase in the selling price of properties in King, but few of us considered the impact of such on property taxes.  As 2017 is the 1st of the 4 year roll out of the new assessment values  we are seeing for the first time the impact of such on our property taxes.  Communication on this important issue has been poor to date; I apologize for that as does Staff.   A fact sheet about the tax increase has now been prepared.  Here it is and you can also find it on the website. 

The average assessment increase across the Township was <6%; but in Wards 1 and 5, in particular, there are people seeing assessment increases upwards to 15%.  And accordingly, they are seeing increases in property tax up to 15%.  As King property owners, the value of our investment has increased significantly as a direct result of the core attributes that make King a preferred community to reside.

King is particularly affected by significant increases in residential property prices as our tax base is 94% residential with only 6% being commercial/industrial.   As 99% of Township is in the Greenbelt and a major portion of that is protected by the more restrictive Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan there will not be a substantial increase in our industrial base.  The Township is an important steward of aquifers and natural heritage systems. Although there have been studies identifying the substantial economic value of protecting these systems, including the land where our food is grown, we do not receive financial credit for this.

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Zoning By-law King City & Schomberg Complete

On June 26 Council agenda there is a report recommending the approval of the new King City & Schomberg Zoning By-law.  As I indicated recently I think this new zoning by-law is a very big step improvement in the regulations for what is built and what activities  occur within the two villages.  It provides well thought out regulations for new residential properties in the established neighbourhoods so that the character of the latter is not lost but yet the desires for different housing than what was built years ago are not denied.  The regulations for the Core Area are far more encouraging for appropriate development.  Finally, given the significant heavy rainfall experienced very recently the wisdom of incorporating minimum pervious surface requirements is very obvious. Click here to access report, maps and the by-law.  (After you click, scroll down to 2nd agenda item.)  I am very appreciative of the effort (more…)

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