The Editor,

I take this opportunity to comment on the Letters to the Editor of January 10th.

One’s reliance on the grapevine in no way alters the costs of operating the Municipality of Champlain. Having personally sat through the 2018 Budget deliberations (not my first time) and been in attendance at most regular council meetings provides a perspective of understanding taken by Council and their decision to implement the 8.96% tax increase.

Our assets, which includes roads, water, sewage, lighting, etc. are in a continuing state of retro-fitting and replacement.  A recent comment at Council was that if all of our assets were 100 % in accordance with the Provincial Standards, it would require an estimated Ten Million Dollars ($ 10,000,000.) to meet that criteria. Safety and emergency equipment renewal in accordance with provincial regulations and those everyday routine maintenance of municipally owned buildings continues.

There are areas to reduce costs, however. Many enjoy the hanging flower pots without any comprehension of the costs involve to acquire and maintain them. (That’s right, beating an old drum again.) May I remind you that, we continue to operate facilities in a position of financial deficit namely, the recreational aspects of our community, the arena in the Hill and the campground/park in L’Orignal.

It goes without saying that M.P.A.C.’s use of the C.A.M.A. (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) system is more practically appropriate for major centers (Toronto, Ottawa)as opposed to our rural environment.

It’s commendable that the individual attained reductions to her property assessment. One of our major heavy industries also obtained a reduction to their assessed value which in turn increases the shortfall of tax dollar income for the municipality.

Our household routinely consumes less than the 28 cubic meters of water. Water and sewage rates based upon the criteria proposed in her letter (based on land size, household income) would create infinitely higher costs attributed to that complexity. I know, we don’t want that.

If you are concerned with the direction of current operations of the municipality, at least attend the regular meetings or consider running for council as I have it on good authority, there will be a vacant seat on Council come election time. Who knows what changes could influence the next Council.

With all due respect to the voice for improvement for tourism in and around Hawkesbury, I have enjoyed and congratulate you on the initiative of ideas and community spirit. May I recommend you review the demographics of the area based upon population diversity, age, income, financial capacity of the Town, etc.  This is not intended to be negative, however, may provide an insight on an approach to be taken in future. Hawkesbury’s waterfront has been undervalued for its’ potential for years and poorly developed with individual residential properties benefitting the few.

Jim Walsh,
L’Orignal, Ontario

Read the letter about Champlain taxes here.