Proposed infrastructure levy ditched for now

MORRISBURG – The bubble burst on an idea that was floated by the mayor at budget time.

During the 2022 budget meetings, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds asked council to consider the possibility of bringing in a new infrastructure levy of up to five per cent. The thought was that it would be a responsible way to plan for addressing some of South Dundas’ infrastructure deficit.

Since February a lot has happened economy-wise, so when council formally discussed the idea at last week’s committee of the whole meeting, it didn’t take long for the group to decide against the possibility of implementing any new infrastructure levy.

South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan spoke in favour of the need to address proper asset management “We have to convey to the public the need for this,” said Mellan.

South Dundas councillor Donald Lewis said that with the high cost of gas and food and the number of people working for minimum wage, this is not the time for it. “Right now is not the time. People are just surviving now. Do we want to increase taxes to the point that they’re not surviving,” said Lewis.

“I recognize the infrastructure debacle we’re in, but this is a reality across the province,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner. “This has been ignored for 40 years. I’m not saying we ignore it. We need to get creative. A specific levy would absolutely decimate some of our families.”

“The bulk of my issue with this is absolutely the timing.”

Byvelds said that while it would be nice for this council to be able to do some forward thinking to address South Dundas’ infrastructure needs, he knows that the timing is poor.

“Doing nothing is not the answer, but doing nothing is the answer for this year,” said Byvelds.

While the majority of council agreed at the committee of the whole meeting that the infrastructure levy is dead for this year, their decision will not be official until it is addressed at a regular council meeting with a full contingent of council in attendance. (South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells was absent from the March 10 meeting where this discussion took place.)

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