"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

Wednesday 1 May 2013

It's so Easy

 Development charge fees deferred in the  extended agreement between the town and St. Andrew's College are over two  million dollars. NOT  $240,00.

And that's only for the current building plans of addition to the dining hall and ice arena.   A deferral for the building program in 2002  was already in place.

My main concern is  preferential treatment  for St. Andrew's over other "stakeholders " in town.

Not so much what we are doing for St. Andrew's as what we are not doing for others rquiring building permits from the town.

No payment up front for Development charges. No building permit.

It's as simple as that.

I daresay every  building contractor in the town could make an argument about why
development charges should not be paid on the basis of this or that benefit  to the community.Not the least would be revenue from  new tax assessment.

Development charge revenue is easy money. Easy come. Easy go.

A project recently approved calls for ornamental lighting on Wellington Street. It is  being extended
towards  the town centre.

It is being paid for with development charge  reserves.

The theory justifying  CDs is that growth must pay for growth.

How does new housing create a need for ornamental lighting.

Development charges  are taxes. Every new home carries a hidden tax of at least  $50,000  for the levy alone.  Property assessment calculated on the basis of  sale price means the  homeowner
pays taxes on taxes forever and a day.

Politicians talk a lot about integrity in government . Codes of Conduct and Ethics Codes are bandied about like candy.

I don't find integrity in providing relief from DCs for one and not  another.

I don't find it in taking the loot to pay for  projects  made neccessary by growth  and spending it on projects  that have nothing to do with growth.

New homebuyers have no idea how  much the price and the mortgage for their homes has been jacked up with hidden taxes.They  would rather not.

Builders do. But  they are mostly interested in just getting on with the job. They complain. But they pay up. They just pass the cost on as an overhead  to the buyer.

But I know. Municipalities take it because we can. Not because it's right.

It's found money. There's no accountability.


Anonymous said...

So the Town is being short-changed over $2M? I'm a bit confused. Why isn't that number being used by everyone and it's the $240K that makes that press and what everyone seems to be talking about. Wouldn't $2M go well forward to the Town building it's own new arena?

Anonymous said...

I remember once at the LCBO when our youngest commented, " See, Mom. there's no sales tax here. " The guy at the cash and I just stared at each other. She was mistaken but it was not her fault. Sales tax on alcohol was huge. But it was hidden.
If it isn't forced out into the open, everyone just grumbles and keeps on paying. This Council is quite happy with the status quo.

Anonymous said...

As SAC is allowed not to pay the development charges wouldn't other non-profit charitable private schools want to set up in Aurora and do the same thing? It would certainly be to their advantage.

Anonymous said...

The explosion in Newmarket is apparently a blown transformer. Which is said to happen fairly often. Doesn't make it any better but the silly panic from some was over the top.

Anonymous said...

In York Region there is a photo of a plaintive woman before the King tower holding a sign 'We Were Not Asked '. To which I have to reply that , according to existing protocol, you were asked. Both towns responded that they could do nothing. Residents within that area were notified and did nothing. Houses will not fall in value - if you feel unsafe.....your call.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know where to post this so I thought best just on the present thread.

Got to love the internet for what’s out there in the public domain.

Latest from local twitter, follow the trail below. I am only including Councillor Ballard & Tyler Barker for reference in the exchange. My attention was drawn to how Phyllis Morris would handle the situation. (see tweet #2 & #4 below).

Essentially recommending a witch hunt to find out who to point a finger at and nail to the wall. No talk about how to improve the process for the future. Just find out if we can pin this on someone.

Yes, I know that other people want to improve the process but really, is this the way to go about it. (Oh, I see now, this is how one ex-politician would create inclusive, open, accountable and transparent government.) Residents & Councillors volunteering a couple of hours for 1 or 2 meetings wont’ be the solution.

Why not have the Town’s administration review the current process, put some context into how this case was handled and if necessary recommend how it could be improved and go from there. STOP the finger pointing.

Tweet #1 Chris Ballard‏@Chris4Aurora 30 Apr

Push to have #AuroraON Council seek on an injunction against #Bell tower fails. Too late, too much $$ we're told. Other option being sought.

Tweet #2 Phyllis Morris ‏@PhyllisMorris2 20h

@Chris4Aurora Maybe an ad hoc joint council & resident committee who can determine who knew what, when & report back publicly #accountability ?

Tweet #3 Tyler barker‏@Tylerbarker25 19h

@PhyllisMorris2 @Chris4Aurora way too expensive also isn't the tower not even in Aurora

Tweet # 4 Phyllis Morris ‏@PhyllisMorris2 19h

@Tylerbarker25 @chris4aurora Not at all. No $'s No consultants. Just 3 Residents 3 Cllrs volunteering a couple of hours 1 or 2 meetings
Scarry thought that Morris may be advising Ballard as to how to handle himself at Council. I would hope that he is at least acting on his own accord. Some people at times should refrain from thinking aloud. (i.e. perhaps better restraint with Twitter)

Anonymous said...

9:22 AM
It's always nice to see the heavy artillery roll out.

Anonymous said...

This is like shooting fish in a barrel. Has Ballard lost it?
That war was lost.

Anonymous said...

Gotta give the Former credit. When she was defeated, she announced she would learn to cook, open a detective agency and/or write. Maybe twitter counts as writing these days?

Anonymous said...

If Councillor Ballard wishes to assign blame, perhaps he should look in the mirror. Or check out Google. If you wish to stop work on a project, you do so BEFORE it has been constructed. Otherwise you waste everyone's time and in this case Aurora's money for the legal opinions that had to be gathered and the time of staff, council and other taxpayers. He waited too long and managed to anger the residents involved and everyone else around him. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Ballard is a twit tweeting himself into oblivion.

And good riddance.