New Tecumseth
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Madhunt Publishing Company
Alliston, Ontario

Madhunt Publishing Company
founded March 22, 1999.

New Tecumseth Free Press Online
First Posted April 30, 1999

To email: Tony Veltri .

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Town needs people in charge that understand taxes as fiscal policy

to the editor,

Posted January 6, 2014

I read with interest your brief note 'Milne files to run for Mayor' and note from reports that Rick Milne will concentrate on three areas: One transit, two bringing in more industry to lower taxes and three, lowering the Town's debt.

I find this fascinating because as deputy mayor, Mr. Milne is responsible for the problem and is highly unlikely, given his past record, to become part of the solution.

Let me give this some context. Transit, by its very nature cannot work in highly suburban sprawl areas and Mr. Milne clearly believes that big houses on big lots are all we need. The recent Beeton, Sorbora Group semi change comes to mind. His position to eliminate all of the semis, which would clearly be against our Official Plan's call for a variety of housing types in the town, would also have lowered municipal revenues by over a million dollars, and is a policy that is unlikely to support transit. He can't have it both ways.

Further, he has failed to bring in policies that would encourage downtown redevelopment and when given the chance to increase revenues through redevelopment policies, failed to put into action plans to do so. The recent Development Charges Bylaw comes to mind. One really has to wonder if Mr. Milne has a real taxation policy, or is just saying things he thinks people want to hear.

As far as transit goes, where are we going to start? Will it be just Alliston, and will the other half of the Town's residents pay for what might become known as Milne's folly? It's a chicken or the egg thing. First we need compact green development, which brings in higher revenue per mile of development, then transit will become economically viable. Clearly Milne doesn't get that.

Yes, a larger industrial tax base would be good. But the deputy mayor just voted in favour of bylaws that would change the industrial zoning in Tottenham, but failed to do it in the context of an overall Community Plan. The result may be that businesses that may have gone on our main street are hidden away on dead end Industrial Rd. Piecemeal reactionary changes are not the answer.

Many of the things Mr. Milne professes to want can be achieved by bringing in policies that support small business which will put people into our downtowns, who will walk to the store, or get on a bus and chat with neighbours. Industry is good, but rarely is it the whole answer. Industry is unlikely to support hockey teams. Industry doesn't support our downtowns. People do.

Clearly he doesn't have any concrete ideas on taxation that will lead to his goals. He has been a part of a government that has put itself in the way of business development, with policies such as the sign tax on small business, huge fees to change zonings and bringing in policies that make revenue to the Town's departments more important than increasing the tax base. It's time for a change, and Mr. Milne is not change, he is the same old, same old.

What this Town needs is people in charge that understand that taxes be they called a tax, a fee, a charge, are fiscal policies and that they are not just an exercise in arithmetic. Taxes and development plan decisions have consequences and need to be part of all overall policy.

I personally believe from what I have seen attending Council over the last six months that Milne does not understand that, and because he doesn't, he is not the person we need to be our next Chief Executive Officer.

Stuart Starbuck

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