October 9, 2018
Sault Residents Want Progress
Residents in Sault Ste. Marie have a clear choice in the upcoming election on October 22nd. Mayoral Candidate, Rory Ring, has staked his campaign on a platform summarized by the slogan, ‘More Jobs, Lower Taxes’. His plan includes ensuring we have a full-time Mayor and greater transparency and accountability from City Hall. But more importantly, Ring is focused directly on addressing key issues such as creating new job opportunities by growing existing businesses, bringing new businesses to our community, and tackling out-of-control property tax increases.
“I will get the people who have the largest tax bills to help me bring more investment and jobs to the city. These companies have relationships with customers, vendors and industrial players provincially, nationally, and around the world. These people have the most to gain from new companies coming here because it will lower their taxes, “said Ring.
While it has been reported that the industrial tax rate has not increased by 56%, that is really a misrepresentation of the facts. The current council did increase the tax rate by 56% in the 2018 budget to the highest rate in Ontario, but provincial law states that individual increases have to be phased in over a ten-year period. So over the next ten years, our largest employers will face major increases year after year.
Sault Ste. Marie needs to be ready to help new businesses set-up and grow. “The EDC completed an inventory of industrial lands. We don’t have serviced land ready for new companies to build on. But our current employers have lands and services that can be leveraged to entice new investments. I will act on these opportunities to grow our economy,” said Ring.
Ring has promised to freeze residential taxes over the term of council which can be done and has been done for a seven-year period in Windsor, Ontario, while ensuring services are protected.
If you review recent council decisions and consider the impact over the next four years, there are more than $4.3 Million of savings that the Mayor was against. The decision to keep ½ of the garbage collection within Public Works will cost us at least $820,000 more than if GFL provided the service. The decision not to get a professional event company to run events at the Essar Centre cost us another $3 Million-because it loses $600,000 a year and we are missing out on profit that could be generated. The refusal to allow free parking downtown costs the city $500,000 because parking enforcement costs us approximately $125,000 a year more than we collect. These things alone add up to $4,320,000. Additionally, think about the amount of money the Mayor spent on consultants every year and the amount the Mayor spent on severances that he is refusing not to disclose.
There are hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings to be had. The problem is, if the leader has no interest in saving money, nobody following him will either.”
Some people, including the Mayor have criticized these goals as unattainable. They believe all costs go up and tax increases are inevitable. The Mayor recently said, in relation to Ring’s promises that, “[he’d] like to see where he is going to find $10 Million” to prevent four more years of tax increases. The Mayor is not looking for any savings for residents because he is unwilling to even admit we have a problem. And make no mistake the Mayor is poised to raise taxes another 11 percent if he is re-elected.
This election is shaping up to be a race between a Mayor who’s leadership is shrinking our local economy and driving up property taxes, and those who understand the challenges we are facing and a man who has a thoughtful strategy for positive change. S