Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

2010 Budget Delivers 2.82% Tax Hike

Posted by auroracitizen on December 13, 2009

Budget deliberations continue, but Mayor Phillis Morris has indicated it’s a done deal. Taxes will increase 2.82% — translating into an additional $30.00 (based on $300,000 home) out of your pocket next year.

Did you get a raise last year to cover this increase? In fact, did you make less in 2009 as a result of cutbacks?

It is interesting to see what “additional benefits” we will receive from this budget.

At a time when people are losing jobs and being asked to cut back in all aspects of their life — it is amazing that this Council has the gall to increase taxes at all. Particularly in an election year.

Even the Region decided to forego a tax increase this year out of respect for the economic downturn we have all experienced.

So what’s up with Aurora?

Councillor Buck has identified a number of items that she feels aren’t warranted. What about you?

We have always had a soft spot for the Library, it seems like an important service to our children. But this year their request for more dollars was declined. Not so historical societies and arboretums — they received more.

So let us know you thoughts. What’s right and what’s wrong with this budget. Where should we be spending less — and possibly where should we be spending more.

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28 Responses to “2010 Budget Delivers 2.82% Tax Hike”

  1. evelyn.buck@rogers.com said

    As in every election, the field will be wide open for new candidates. Elizabeth has served as Vice-chair and Chair of the Library Board. She has been extremely conscientious, completely competent and well-regarded.

    It was always the tradition in Aurora for people to start as school trustees before tossing their hat in the ring for Council.At that time,we had our own school boards. Library trustees were appointed by the school boards. The Mayor was the only representative from Council. Library service was regarded as part of the education system.

    Elizabeth has established credentials.

    This year the election is three weeks earlier than in the past. Registration opens on January 3rd. A candidate can declare that early.

    If a resident thinks he/she could do a good job, it’s not too soon to make their interest known. If you don’t think you could do it but know someone else who would make a good candidate, let them know you have confidence in their ability. Sometimes a person just needs to be encouraged. It can be a valuable contribution to help elect a good candidate.

    There are things to know, to plan a campaign. Like how much you can spend? How best to use your resources? How much advantage is there by declaring early. Jumping in at the last minute is not likely to be successful. If you were a candidate before, you have already made an investment in time and resources. Don’t waste it. Try again.

    People love a Parade… and a Municipal Election Campaign. In Aurora, the last election never ended. Anybody starting now is a late starter.

    • Elizabeth Bishenden said

      I appreciate the vote of confidence as a good citizen. I’ll think hard about the 2010 election and how I can make a positive contribution. I doubt I’ll be on the ballot.

      Cheers!

  2. fed up said

    An email to the mayor and every councillor re: my disgust with this tax increase has brought zero replies. I guess none of them really give a tanker’s damm about what the average Aurora citizen thinks about this tax increase.

  3. Brickbat Returns said

    Here Here ,In the ring .

  4. White Knight said

    At a time when I have taken a cut in pay at work rather than be unemployed and I am in “tighten the belt mode” I resent this tax increase to fuel the mayor’s et al’s wasteful spending on unnecessary positions (an IC), frilly projects (arboretum and heritage/cultural centre, and above all legal costs as a means to an end to support personal vendettas. It is about time the GOS operated in the real world and took some responsibility… but then the story this week has been about the big US banks that are STILL paying themselves billions in bonuses despite the bail out from “guess who” – the poor lowly taxpayer that is trying to hold everything together.
    WAKE UP MORRIS, MAC ET AL!!!!

  5. augustinius said

    It strikes me that the next serious candidate for mayor has to be someone who is credible, capable, possessing integrity and character, someone who has the experience to re-establish municipal government in Aurora as an honourable thing. This person must also be respected by those who know him/her and who can and will, prior to the election, earn the respect of the voters and the members of the next Council.

    People who volunteer their time and labours for charitable causes should have our thanks and admiration, but not necessarily our vote. Let’s have well-rounded candidates the next time around, instead of this vicious irresponsible gang of losers.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Augustinius,

      I cannot agree more. I read campaign literature and while I admire a long list of volunteer accomplishments, they usually do not extend into any sort of council relevant experiences. I would rather have someone with real-world business experience around the table rather than someone that rang the bell beside a Salvation Army kettle.

      Fuimus

  6. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    I can’t echo Mr Hogg’s second point enough.

    This council thrives on special interest groups and relies on them for votes.

    His first point is also right on the money.

    Throw your hat into the ring sir!

  7. Older than dirt said

    I am amazed when I hear garbage like Kean caused the situation that we are in now with Morris as mayor from Brickbrat and Fed up. I for one think that Kean had the right to run against Jones and then morris declared at the last minute. You guys or girls have blinkers on if you think that he caused morris to get elected.
    Kean ran what I thought was an honest campaign with no bulls-it promises like morris made. Jones actually attacked Kean at the last debate and I was glad to hear Kean stand up to the lies that Jones was spreading and tell the truth.
    Jones was an OK mayor but he really let the old boys rule his council. He wouldn’t stand up to West or Buck.
    Morris won because she fooled too many people in Aurora by her promises that she has not kept.
    As I have said in the past, Kean will be the best candidate in the 2010 campaign and I will help him and support him as I know he will do a great job if he gets elected. He is honest and does help with many charities in Aurora. Last week I saw him helping with the Salvation Army Kettle, both at the liquour store and the Metro store. This is the kind of person that I want as mayor.
    So to Brickbat and Fed up get on the band wagon and help Kean beat this joke of a mayor. He is the only person who can and will beat her.

    • Richard Johnson said

      I agree with you “Older than dirt”.

      I too played a roll in getting Phyllis elected along with a lot of other people, but unfortunately all of our efforts were clearly based on the false assumption that Phyllis would bring the change we all hoped for. It just goes to show that having a good speech writer and a nice glossy flyer does not always mean that the candidate in question will follow through on the promises being made, so we live and learn. This isn’t the first time that the bait and switch technique has been applied in politics.

      I now have to wonder if the change we got was in fact worse than the issues we were trying to correct in the first place. My views of Tim have most certainly changed.

      Nigel ran a good Champaign in 2006 and he said what he felt had to be said at the time, therefore no one should fault him for telling the truth as he saw it. Politics can be a challenging and sometimes messy business but the best practice is to be true to yourself and the promises you make.

    • fed up said

      don’t put words in my mouth and MY OPINION IS NOT GARBAGE–you may disagree with things I have said but I am allowed to say them whether you agree or not–I never said Kean caused the situation we are now in–MORRIS is fully to blame–the reality is that the vote was split 3 ways–whether the outcome would have been different is for GOD alone to know–MORRIS’S arrogance and incompetance caused this situation–All I want is her and the GOS gone and someone who has their head on straight and this town’s interest at heart is elected to the mayor’s chair–but we were fooled with PM’s lies and false promises last time of open honest (I love this town) government–the real problem here is that too many citizens of this town have no idea what is going on at the town hall–take for example how many different people submit to this blog–it is the same people time after time–we must educate the people to what has happened and present a solid field of candidates to defeat this rabble.

    • Anonymous said

      Older than Dirt…

      Because someone is helping with the SA Kettle is not enough in my mind to vote for them. I think that the era of municipal polititions need to be seen as volunteering in the community is gone.

      Nigel would be best to run as a councillor – he does not have the toolset to be mayor. One of the things that the mayor needs is to be able to stand up for the town at Regional Council. It’s a different arena.

    • Older than dirt said

      I used the fact that Kean does indeed volunteer only as a way of showing that he has continued to help where he can and has been very visable. He has, through his letters to the Auroran, shown that he is very involved in the politics of Aurora and cares and has actually given suggestions as to how we could correct what is happening in town. How does Anonymous Dec15th 11:08 know what the toolset for Mayor should be.When Kean was on council he was one of only 2 bright spots on Council. He had many great motions and challenged then Mayor Jones, that the mayor was correct in his motions. He challenged the mayor’s closeness to developers, he challenged the fact that the Mayor would tend to side with the developers, more than not. Kean also helped set the ground rules for the 2C lands and help protect the Oak Ridges Morraine with the help of other cpuncillors when the mayor wanted to open it up.
      No one knows what the toolset of a mayor is but I know that Kean at least understands the politics and to me will be an excellent choice for Mayor.
      On another note, last night I was in Jonathons and overheard three people speaking about the fact that the former mayor and certain friends want to put up a candidate for mayor. Why would he want that????

  8. Council Cop said

    There is no end of good that can be done provided that the funds are available but at some point we need to stop and ask ourselves what our priorities are as a town and when enough is enough ? After seemingly endless tax increases, new government fees, interest rates and insurance costs, the average Joe is being squeezed to the breaking point.

    I totally support the need of a vibrant Library and any number of publicly funded things but it also strikes me as very odd that at the same time that we find so much new found money for cultural centers, the historical society, the arborarium and petty internal legal battles, the town does not have one thin dime or even free space in vacant town owned buildings to offer the Aurora Food Pantry who are responsible for feeding approximately sixty needy families per week, every week of the year. It makes me wonder if we have our priorities straight.

    We all know that the demand for more services will almost always outstrip the town’s funds but not only do we need to consider our long term infrastructure and service needs but I also think that we need to pay more than lip service to our social responsibility and obligation to better manage the town’s costs while taking care of our most needy.

  9. George Gonsalves said

    No surprise! Phyllis thinks this is her town and no one else’s. She and her cohort have their priorities mixed up and are making us pay for their friends’ useless projects. When will this end? Their neglectful treatment of the library would indicate that they probably do not read books. No surprise there either.

  10. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    As a point in fact, I should note that while the library’s full municipal requisition was not included in the present ( as yet unapproved) budget, the budget does include an increase over last year in the amount the library will receive.

  11. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    As many of you know, I’m on the library board. At the present time I am Chair of the APL Board.

    At the APL, we’ve seen double digit increases in all services, from use of our electronic services to children’s programming. No kidding, we felt we needed an increase in funding and we asked for the bare minimum.

    I was at many of the budget process meetings and saw the “pressure points” in terms of increased demand on the part of residents.

    In order to maintain services, the town needs to budget at least the costs of increasing employee costs.

    Beyond the costs of employing people, if the residents are going to ask for increased service levels, the taxes will increase.

    • fed up said

      NO NO NO–We seniors on pensions cannot afford your requests for more and more taxes year after year after year. There is no way that there should be any TAX INCREASES in this economic climate–Shame on you for even asking or considering such a thought–everyone else in this community is cutting back why not you people on boards and in government trying it for a change–speaking of change–bye bye to anyone from the mayor to any council member who supports any increase in taxes–The region is not increasing my taxes but Phyllis is–bye bye Phyllis

    • Anonymous said

      Elizabeth,

      As someone who sits on a Town board at the pleasure of the Mayor. you are very brave to participate on this blog given the past history of staff and volunteers.

    • Anonymous indeed said

      Elizabeth, I am an active user and great supporter of the library, but I think during such difficult economic times that EVERYONE needs to tighten their belt until things turn around.
      I hope they turnaround soon as I’m one of the many that has been a victim of job-loss due to the economy, and unlikely to find a job with the same pay. I’m learning to do without until things improve, and that would make good fiscal sense for this town as well.

    • Elizabeth Bishenden said

      Hi Anonymous 3:57 pm,

      I don’t really have a lot to lose… my volunteer actions pay pretty much nothing, and sometimes even less.

      What do you think I have to lose?

    • Anonymous said

      Elizabeth,

      My comment was strictly that if you make Her Highness upset by participating on this blog, you could stand to loose your position on the APL Board when the time comes up.

      By the way, did you sign the code of conduct that volunteers were required to sign?

    • elizabethbishenden said

      As it happens, there is a long-standing policy in this town that library board volunteers enjoy only two appointments. I was appointed by the previous council and then re-appointed by the current council.

      I love working with the library as a board member, but I am not eligible to be re-appointed. I’ve learned a lot, and I think I’ve contributed significantly. However, it is time for me to move to new territory and for some new people to start working with the library.

  12. Brickbat Returns said

    The Arboretum ,for any of you who have not visited it ,is a wasteland and no more .
    It is just that ,land being wasted because there is a great lack of trees .
    So where does all this money go ?
    Last year it was ,and still is because the money was set aside; The Petch House which never ,ever , was on Aurora soil and yet they want to spend almost a half a million dollars on it .
    Funny because there is a rumour circulating that one of our Political genius did not know where The Food Pantry was in Aurora .
    I can tell you ,its a place that a new home could be found with that kind of money and not a rotting home that isnt even a log home .
    The Historical Society is taking residence in the Church Street School ,the Mayors Palace .
    I bet this is the reason her Grace and the Gang are eager to approve this .
    I am sickened by this bunch and if anyone believes that Nigel Kean is the answer or Tim Jones I protest .
    I must tell you that Nigel is one of the main reasons we are where we are due to his attack on Tim Jones in the last election .
    Also Tim ,you seem like a new man working in the community but you werent a saint either when you were in the chambers .
    If you wonder what I mean I will come forward at election time and pray some new ideas and new blood will grace every chair .
    At almost every level of Government we have seen corruption , bullying ,waste , and pockets getting fatter .
    It is time for a change and that begins here in Aurora and ideals of the best for our future and especially our youth .
    That positive ripple has to start soon or our communities are doomed to this continual disrespect .
    We deserve better ,and we should bond for change .

    • fed up said

      couldn’t agree more–we do deserve better and we will get better–can’t wait until Nov 2010–change is in the wind

    • Nigel Kean said

      To Brickbat,
      My attack on Tim Jones was a misjudgement that I have since apologized to Tim many times publically and personally. We all make mistakes and I admit that I made one that night.However, that being said, I do believe that I will and can make a positive change if I get elected. I have both business and political experience that will help me work to make Aurora better.I have learned from the past and will use that to help towards a better future. Aurora has great staff, although we have lost many key members, who will help guide the new council and mayor.
      Respect is key to any successful council. Respect for residents and respect for council and staff. I will make sure that I remember that to build a positive Aurora.
      Lastly, to Brickbat, if I was one of the main reasons that Ms Morris won, I really do apologize but I only had one vote and I did not vote for her.

    • Brickbat Returns said

      To Mr Kean
      Yes or No answer only .
      If you did not attack Mr.Jones would he have won the election in your opinion ?
      Yes or No only is accepted .

  13. fed up said

    What is this $30 increase?–BS–2.82% of the $4000 I now pay is $112 –one more nail in her coffin–she should be ashamed at any increase at all–my pension is not going up but this mayor wants me to fork out more money–FOR WHAT?????–more money for history and trees (especially since they did not spend what we gave them last year)–shame shame on you mayor morris–how many days until you are defeated and forced out of this town? less than 365

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