"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday 28 April 2013

A conundrum

"Let's leave the Siftons out of this"  somebody has said.

It sounds like a bit of a scold.

I'd like to point out , we didn't bring the Siftons into this. Mr. Sifton was part of the delegation  representing St. Andrew's College on  Tuesday night. He was introduced to Council..  I  don't think he was on a social visit.

I doubt the  Sifton family wealth and influence would come as much of a surprise .

I think  the fact  St.Andrew's is classified as a non-profit charitable foundation  is the contrast that made people sit up and take notice.

But  now the fact  of  wealth has been raised , the details contribute little to the discussion.

What surprises me is that no-one is shocked by the amount of Development  Charges  not been collected from St.Andrew's

With added fees for this and that, it's  two and a half million dollars over and above what it costs to build the facilities.

I still pause when figures run into double digits , let alone seven. Not my colleagues though.

It;s proposed to scatter a hundred thousand dollars at the feet of Bell telephone. They will be pleased to move the tower. We will keep the threat of an injunction at $150,000. in our back pocket to scare them into submission,

Well.it's only money. We've  got  plenty where that comes from. We will increase the charges on new home buyers of town houses with barely a footprint on the ground to make up.

We'll make the ticky-tacky box  home owners pay up  for the million dollar mansion dwellers.

But I digress.

The  assessed value of the school buildings is not relevant.  The  non-profit .charitable foundation  classification means no  property taxes are paid.

Staff residences are assessed and taxable.

Another  question just popped into my head.

The agreement with the town allows deferral of development charges until such time as the use of the property changes or the property is sold.

In the event of  the latter , the new owner would  then be liable for development charges on whatever new use may be made of the property,

The municipality, the Region and the Board of  Education would be in the position of  collecting  development charges from St Andrew's when the sale is made and  again on the  developer who purchased the property for development.

I'm not sure how the municipality would collect DCS owing if the property were to be sold. Is the agreement registerd against the land title.  Nobody said so.

Council was not given a copy of the ten page agreement. We have no idea how that's supposed to work.

I doubt very much thought was given to that aspect of the deal. Not for a minute do I imagine there is any intention of the use or land changing hands.

I am convinced the agreement is nothing more than a dodge to escape paying development charges.

And the preferential treatment  for St Andrew's is  quite acceptable with the Mayor and Councillors.

By the way, Councillor Ballard  joined me in not voting  to extend the agreement.


Anonymous said...

The asking price for the Aurora Post Office was around $1. 9 Million. It has sold with the price not released probably until closing. That building was not sold to provide just another little shopping mall. Expect condos in that ' historical ' centre of town. And more yowling. NIMBY !!!!

Anonymous said...

Money talks. Big money talks very loud.

How can Council deal with this several million dollar issue when the ten page agreement covering the town's permission to allow deferral of development charges until such time as the use of the property changes or it is sold, is not provided to councillors?

I understand that this agreement goes back many years; most councillors don't.

How can an intelligent conversation and consideration occur under these circumstances?

Will Bell be prepared to move the tower in return for $100,000? The injunction threat isn't worth the thought that went into it.

Would there not have to be a complete set of new applications and hearings?

Bell has deeper pockets than Michael Sifton.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the post office building sold for over $2 million to a local lawyer for a condo development.

Anonymous said...

I am not going to fault the SAC board for trying to be exempted. It is their job & they obviously played their cards well.
It was the job of council to point out politely that Aurora is not in the charity business. We actually do need that money.

Anonymous said...


Does this mean that a councillor has to file a FOI in order to get a copy of the original SAC agreement?

Anonymous said...

11:12 AM
That will please the seller. Multiple-bidding will not have pleased the purchaser.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, government spending.

In the latest attack ads our bullying Conservative Party is running against Justin Trudeau they brag about reducing the GST.

A tax that the Conservatives put in place in the first place. It's funny how creating a tax and then reducing the tax are both good ideas.

Regardless, if you want my two percents worth, if they'd left it in place our deficit would be reduced by almost half.

And as for those 900,000 jobs created, every one of those people will have to pay $50,000 in tax to cover the cost of the fighter jets commitment that the Conservatives are trying to figure out how to escape from.

Harper could ask his MPs for some ideas on this but they aren't allowed to talk.

Anonymous said...

Many thought our current Mayor had the business acumen to provide the type of leadership needed. He has demonstrated, on a number of occasions, that he does not.

I brought a small issue to his attention that he agreed needed action. I have been very disappointed in his follow-up.

I am amazed that he could be played for a fool in this Bell episode.

Anonymous said...

What Aurora seems to lack is a safe harbour where all boats, large & small, can rest secure. Keep well.

Anonymous said...

5:10 PM
Ouch! But are you suggesting the local Liberals because I am finding that I do not belong there. Normally that would be the place to go..Has been for years. Now? Here?

Anonymous said...

So sorry, 5:10 PM, but
If we cannot clean up the scum on our own pond, how can you expect us to work on larger bodies of water?

Anonymous said...

" tomorrow, tomorrow"
I can't carry a tune but send you this anyhow. The kids had a mantra before a test or exam about going forth & conquering. Seemed to work for them.

Anonymous said...

@7:11 PM
The Mayor is only one man with one vote. Concentrate on the others.

Anonymous said...

How can the Town even levy Development Charges against SAC in the first place? This is a blatant tax grab outside of the intent of Development Charges.

This is a definition from our friends in the City of Toronto:

"Development charges are fees collected from developers at the time a building permit is issued.

The fees help pay for the cost of infrastructure required to provide municipal services to new development, such as roads, transit, water and sewer infrastructure, community centres and fire and police facilities.

Most municipalities in Ontario use development charges to ensure that the cost of providing infrastructure to service new development is not borne by existing residents and businesses in the form of higher property taxes. "

Anonymous said...

Thanks 8:47pm. Indeed, the Mayor is only one man. Probably fair to say that others on our council have disappointed. But at the end of the day the Mayor is accountable more than anyone else.

There is probably little to no hope of changing some of our our councillors. They have an agenda that is much different than mine and many others in this Town.

I cannot discount the Mayor like I do some councillors. Those that don't have the time or inclination to follow our council look to the Mayor to ensure the ship is running on course and that their money is being well spent.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like only 2 councillors, Buck & Ballard are willing to say no. Everyone else is fearful of applying the rules fairly and experiencing the reliation of SAC and what the school and alumni may do to Aurora. The Town is being held hostage at the threat of what SAC will no longer do in Aurora based on now having to pay their share.

Anonymous said...

"Let's leave the Siftons out of this" somebody has said.

It sounds like a bit of a scold.

No I think it sounds like good sense. You and your merry band of Buckeroos love to implicate people with your innuendo and made up facts. Until you know what the hell you're talking about, leave them alone.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:10 PM
Always with the cheap-shots. Try for a bit of relevancy once in while.