Currently Browsing: The Issues

Potential for East Humber Headwaters Park!

There is no guarantee of outcome but if it comes to pass this is a fabulous development:  a new park on the Oak Ridges Moraine east of King City to be called East Humber Headwaters Park.  As indicated in the resolution this outcome is contemplated as the result of a proposed land swap between a private landowner and the Province; specifically, to swap currently owned land with lands owned by the Province in another municipality where development is already planned.   If completed there will be the opportunity to improve and restore the ecological and hydrological functions of the ORM in this natural linkage area. The proposal includes transferring the 208 hectares to Province or Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA).   

66 Main Street: intent to designate

December 11 Council agenda includes a report with a recommendation to give notice of intention to designate the principal residence at 66 Main Street Schomberg as a property meriting protection under the Ontario Heritage Act.  As reviewed this property merits such protection as it meets the criteria under the 3 categories even though it is only necessary to meet criteria of 1.  The 3 categories are that it has cultural heritage value, historical/associative value and contextual value.  The proposal to designate was initiated by Heritage Advisory Committee.  Given the deputations made at the public meeting November 13 it is evident that a significant number of residents are supportive of protecting this structure as part of a development on the property.  I am certain that preserving this structure and incorporating it into the development will result in a very positive outcome for both the property owner and the community.

(more…)

2018 Budget & Business Plan

At 5 PM on December 11 there is a working session of Committee of Whole.  Public is welcome to attend and listen but the target audience, so to speak, is Council members i.e.  questions from public are not entertained.  Subject of the session is the draft 2018 budget & business plan.

Dufferin and King Road Development Public Meeting

At November 27  Council meeting there is statutory public meeting for a planning application to re-develop the lands at south west corner of Dufferin and King Road in King City.  (Follow link provided and see agenda item 6.1.) The proposed development include a 1 storey automobile drive-thru car wash, 1 storey automobile service station and a combined restaurant drive-thru/convenience store.   If you have a point of view on this application you can either attend and make a verbal deputation; or you can send in your comments to the Clerk at [email protected]

Budget 2018: what do you want?

Several week ago I asked if my readers had any input for the upcoming 2018 budget; specifically are there programs/services occurring today which you think should be reduced or eliminated in order reduce property tax burden.  Or, are there programs/services you would like to see introduced or increased?  With the thought that hearing some of the ideas I have heard already may inspire you I have  noted below what I have heard already.  If you agree or disagree with the proposals below let me know.  If you have other ideas, let me know.  You can post in this blog your ideas; or email me direct ([email protected]) or phone me at 289 221 2472.  Need to hear from you by 11/29.  (more…)

Draft Official Plan: presentation 11/30

The Official Plan Review team will be introducing the first working draft of One King, King Township’s new draft official plan to Committee of the Whole in a working session meeting on Thursday, November 30 at 7PM in Council Chambers.  Members of the public are invited to attend the presentation to learn about the new draft official plan and the next steps of the review process. Opportunities for public comment and participation will be provided in subsequent forums.  The draft is anticipated to be released to the public in December 2017. Early in 2018, a Public Open House and subsequent formal Pubic Meeting will be held where members of the public can ask questions and provide comments. For a review of Official Plan process to date see here.

(more…)

Small Property Tax Policy Change: vacant units

There is a Staff report recommending elimination of the vacant unit rate rebate program.  As indicated the decision itself has little material impact because it has not been used significantly.  But, the process for reaching this position is very appropriate:  engagement with community and collaboration with other YR municipalities.

Municipal Contribution Rebate Program – 2018 Municipal Election

There is important Staff report on 10/16 Council agenda about funding options for those interested in running in the 2018 election. A source of funding for those interested to run for election in Municipal Councils in Ontario was eliminated in 2016: donations from corporations and unions are no longer acceptable. This was done to reduce outside influence that is often centered on private interest and not on public interest; it is not perfect by any means but to my mind it is a valuable change. Campaigns may only be financed by donations from individuals, fundraising events and self-financed candidates.

Funding for municipal candidates is different than that for provincial or federal; for both, of latter rebates are given via income tax credits. The Province did not implement same for municipal elections when they introduced the ban on corporate and union donations in 2016.

I believe the municipality needs to step in and address this gap. As indicated in the report the only source of funding for this Rebate Program is municipal taxes. (more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)