Message from the Clerk Treasurer/Administrator

I am often asked why the Town does not respond to the many items being written on various forms of social media, letters to the editor, etc. The answer is simply that Administration does not feel that this would be a wise use of taxpayers’ funds.

Administration will always respond to requests received directly by our office, but to go seeking misinformation in an attempt to correct it would be endless. Much of what is written is based on individual opinions and everyone is entitled to have their opinion. That being said, I do wish to share some information so some of those opinions might be slightly more informed.

In the press release relating to our current industrial reassessment, it was said that taxes would have to increase by 50% to repay the debt that this reassessment has created. Our annual levy has averaged $8 million for the past few years and our share of the reassessment for 2009-2012 is approximately $4 million or 50% of our annual average levy, not double. It was also never stated that taxes would in fact increase by this amount, however this does put the amount in context for each of us.

I also hear a lot about our high service levels, which corresponds to high levels of taxation. Let’s think about where existing service levels have come from. I would suggest that it is in response to requests from various taxpayers and residents, whether it comes from telephone complaints or written requests for services or sometimes more formally from a referendum vote. It is reasonable to question the feasibility of our Complex facility; being built in the first place, there is also the question that this might have been foresight by the two-thirds of voters who voted in favour of it.

Our Complex is one of the many things that make our Town a community and an enjoyable place to live. With our current financial situation, it is critical to find a balance between expected levels of service and a reasonable level of taxation; one that council is committed to.

A few more quick facts:

  Tax Rates   Long Term Debt
2010 0.02726474     10,360,884
2011 0.02670743     9,931,743
2012 0.02612443     9,098,361
2013 (2nd Draft) 0.02372708   Projected 8,729,639

Of the 2013 projected balance of debt, approximately $6.4 million of this relates to the water and sewer upgrades, which have occurred since the major brown water problem of 2004.

With an annual repayment limit for 2012 of $2,274,548, as set by the province, the municipality could borrow $28,345,892 assuming a 5% borrowing rate; The town is at approximately 30% of its maximum borrowing capacity.

The average age of our vehicles and equipment for the municipality is 2003, some newer and some older.

It is disheartening to read comments and opinions on where service cuts should be. This will undoubtedly affect all of us in some way or another. One only has to look at the second draft budget to note that the levy request has decreased $1,244,345 from the first draft budget. The Town is a service organization, it would be impossible to reduce the annual levy by this much without this impacting services and related employment, this is not something that should be celebrated or publicized.
Council continues to deliberate the 2013 budget in an effort to further reduce the projected 2.59% increase to an amount more comparable to the CPI increase, which was .8% for 2012.

For further information on what services your tax dollar pays for, please refer to page 30 of the 2013 budget.

For more information, contact:
Cynthia Townsend,
Clerk Treasurer/Administrator
100 Tudhope St. Suite 2
Espanola ON P5E 1S6
(P) 705-869-1540 ext. 2102
(F) 705-869-0083