"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 21 April 2013

More of the story about Hidden Taxes

The story   about St Andrew's deferral of DCs is revealed piece by piece. It has generated considerable interest and comments have been fast and various.  That's a good thing.  Right.

Yesterday Councillors received  by e-mail, documentation of the request  from St. Andrew's for deferral of D.C.s payment

The usual complete background had not been provided by staff.

The report was written by the Treasurer and reviewed  only by the Solicitor and C.A.O. as noted before. None of the three were part of the administration. in 2002.

Documentation provided by St Andrew's is substantial and relevant.  The  intent is to delegate again on Tuesday and provide Council with the history.

A decision in Council in Committee is a decision to recommend to Council. It is not the final decision.  It's the procedure we adopt as the first item of business of a newly elected Council.

In 2002, when  a building program  was contemplated, the  College  learned Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill, a private school, made an agreement with that municipality  to defer  payment  of D.C. s.

An application  was made to Aurora  for the same  consideration under appropriate legislation.

A ten page agreement was signed.

The site plan for  current  construction plans  was not anticipated at the time. It was not included in the agreement.  It has been  in the works for a year.  Not until the permit granting stage was information  provided about D.C.s of 2 million dollars being required to be paid.  
 I have concerns about collecting D.C.s in the amount we do .

I make the point at every opportunity.  So far as I  can  gather, I am the odd man out in municipal circles.  It's easy money for municipalities and there is little accountability for the money.

For developers, time is money, they pay the fees and pass the cost along  to the home-buyer .

Retailers and industries  it's a cost of doing business ,so they pass it along as well.

But that's another story.

Part of the argument to grant St Andrew's a  deferral was that public schools do not pay D.C.s ,
For tax purposes ,  private  schools are classified as not-for-profit, charitable organizations. 

One of the  arguments the College had in 2002  and still offers, is no longer valid. 

Last term, Aurora Council did   impose  D.C.s on  at least one school. St. Maximillian Kolbe  High School on Wellington Street.   Cash  in Lieu  of parks was required to be paid.  

No matter that new student population making the school a requirement, were from  families who had already paid D.C.s in the purchase of  their family homes.

Aurora Council was adamant.

Councillor Thompson  referred to Montessori Schools , which  are  required to pay D.C.s, despite being private schools.

It's a key factor in the decision to be made on Tuesday.

But there's  another part to this story .

 St Maximilian Kolbe High School was close to not being built at all .

Provincial approval for the school were long since obtained. Land had been assembled  at a costof eleven  million dollars, if memory serves me right. Designs were complete.  Site plans finalized    waiting to be approved.

They were not.

They were refused by  Council.

It took a  delegation of  parent spokespersons from every separate school and Father Don MacLean, Our Lady of Grace parish priest, to speak to the need for the school  for the decision to be changed.

The delegation heard about the Mayor  being taught by nuns and Councillor MacEachern's daughter being a student at Cardinal Carter High School when the decision was changed.

After that came the decision to  impose the Cash in Lieu of parks fee. Almost like an afterthought

And the OMB hearing and having to  pay a legal retainer to argue the indefensible.

And lose.

It appears St Max might be the only public school where fees were charged,

But it's enough to make the deferral of  fes for St Andrew's to be a Cause Celebre,


And refused.   At committee stage.

Elizabeth Crowe Chairman of the Separate Board had to rally parent  reepresentatives fromevery school

 and Our Father Don


Anonymous said...

The key words would appear to be " intent to delegate again ". It would appear that there are endless opportunities to try and influence Councillors. Not wanting to beat a dead horse but we did see the like before when one group would quickly form a posse any time things were looking a bit grim for them.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday's meeting just got a whole lot longer.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have history on your side- again. Well done. Hope it works out OK

Anonymous said...

Did the fact that Morris was taught by nuns make her a better person?

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't the "usual complete background info" provided by staff to Council last week? Was it just a slip?

Anonymous said...

They could have been Church of England (Anglican) nuns.