On April 23rd, South Dundas treasurer Shannon Geraghty confirmed that the April 16th United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry decision to give multi-residential landlords a break would have “no effect on taxpayers.”
South Dundas taxpayers’ municipal taxes will remain at the already announced 3.5 per cent and the $50,000 needed to satisfy the Counties will come from the South Dundas working budget.
The issue was first brought to light at the April 17th South Dundas council meeting where South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds told council that “we did set tax ratios and tax rates yesterday” at the Counties council meeting in Cornwall.
According to Byvelds, during the April 16th Counties council meeting, North Dundas mayor Eric Duncan requested a reduction to the rate for multi-residential landlords.
A significant reduction in the percentage for multi-residential landlords, Byvelds explained means that “all the other classes pay the burden.”
“Now,” said Byvelds, “our residents have to pay more. I’m not sure if that was a fair way of doing it, however it’s done.”
“We’ll see if it will encourage more developers,” said Byvelds, as this, he informed council, is the reason for the action.
South Dundas, treasurer Shannon Geraghty pointed out that the issue with the decision at the Counties level is that it equates to a residential tax rate increase of 4.57 per cent, rather than the 3.5 per cent already promised.
“I didn’t anticipate any change, but Counties thought a change to multi-residential was necessary,” said Geraghty.
“The biggest assessment block,” he continued, “is residential. So, it’s the biggest hit.”
Byvelds pointed out that “I’m not picking on mayor Duncan, but that’s where it started.”
“As much as you’re trying to increase new,” said Byvelds, “landlords are business people.”
“I can live with non-profit housing,” he added.
As for South Dundas municipal taxes, Councillor Jim Graham said, “I’d hate to have to raise it. I think this year I’d like to see it remain where we set it.”
Councillor Evonne Delegarde agreed, saying “I don’t want to see it raised.”
“Well there goes any fleet reserves,” said Councillor Archie Mellan. “We said 3.5… we’re getting the short end of the stick. I don’t like telling them something and then going back on it.”
Ending the discussion for the night, Byvelds said, “what we’ll do with this one… we can defeat this specific by-law and refer it back to staff.”
Staff followed through on council’s wishes and the South Dundas municipal taxes will remain at 3.5 per cent.