Letter to the Editor – September 11, 2018

The Facts Speak for Themselves – The Garbage Deal Increases Your Taxes

Yesterday I issued a press release prior to the council meeting. That press release explained that the city was about to spend $600,000 for new garbage trucks that would then require the city spend an extra $450,000 to collect garbage.  The total extra spending to collect ½ of the city garbage will be $1 million which amounts to a 1% tax increase.

Suddenly, the Mayor decided to withdraw the item from the agenda and that speaks volumes. Why was it withdrawn? 

Even though Sootoday didn’t publish the release when it was provided to them and did not call me for an interview, they published a story in which the mayor claimed the release was inaccurate. 

The mayor went to great lengths to try to portray me as someone with no knowledge of taxation and budgeting.  

The Mayor said the purchase of garbage trucks would not result in a tax increase because the trucks were to be funded out of a reserve. 

In July 16, 2018 council report by Susan Hamilton Beach, she wrote: “two (2) new collection vehicles to be purchased in 2018 from the Public Works Equipment Reserve ($700,000) to be funded from the uncommitted funds available”.

The recommendation presented to council last night clearly shows that reserves are replenished from the levy, taxation.

RECOMMENDATION

It is therefore recommended that Council take the following action:

Resolved that the report of the Director of Public Works be received, and furthermore that Council direct staff to proceed with the provision of waste collection service via a hybrid model (50% Contractor and 50% City with the City collecting leaf and yard waste); furthermore that the Contract be awarded to Green For Life; and furthermore that the funding of carts be approved using the Landfill Reserve for upfront initial acquisition ($1,642,566, including HST) with an annual repayment from the tax levy to replenish the Landfill Reserve of approximately ($165,000) and furthermore that two (2) new collection vehicles to be purchased in 2018 from the Public Works Equipment Reserve ($700,000) to be funded from the uncommitted funds available.

Reserve funds come from the taxpayer. If the city spends $700,000 from the Equipment Reserve, it will have to replenish those funds to enable future equipment purchases.  Where is that money going to come from?  It comes from the taxpayer and will require a portion of collected taxes to be used for that purpose. Just because money is in a reserve doesn’t mean it didn’t start out as someone’s tax bill.

This garbage truck purchase was avoidable and now we will be taxed to cover the cost of using that Equipment Reserve.  

The numbers don’t lie.  I am still waiting to hear how Algoma’s tax bill was $ 32 million as stated in a council report in September of 2017 but in his discussion about the tax settlement 11 months later, the Mayor said that Algoma only owed $23 million. 

The next thing the Mayor is going to say is that he didn’t raise taxes 11 percent in the last four years when we all know he did.

What is clear and has be proven in other cities is that contracting municipal waste collection is less expensive for the taxpayer. That fact is undeniable and to suggest that this is a good deal for taxpayers is simply wrong. Let’s see what happens at the next City Council meeting.

Respectfully,

Rory Ring, Candidate For Mayor