All governments must pay closer attention to hardship
Two recent items by local news outlets should be cause for the members of our city council, MPP and MP to sit up, very straight, and take serious note of what is happening to the people living and paying taxes in this city.
Food bank demands are increasing. Brantford has an unemployment rate hovering around 10.9%, Canadian unemployment numbers hover around 8.6%.
Our MP voted to stall EI restructuring. We are second in the filing of personal bankruptcy in Ontario, up 60.3% over the same period in 2008.
The article touches on, but does not provide, the number of homes in the city that are going into bank foreclosure, or forced sale because people can no longer afford them. Businesses throughout this city are suffering as these numbers grow.
Our MPP lauds the new harmonized tax that will be the largest tax grab in this province's history and add further burdens to families already struggling.
The city receives their property taxes, be it from the bank or homeowner, but the loss to these families cannot have a price attached to it.
This council lauds the stimulus money being poured into the city, as photo opportunities are taken with each handout, but they are not providing the cost to the city taxpayer.
We will pay once at the federal level, once at the provincial level and once at the city level for every dollar attached to stimulus spending.
This city needs to stop spending and not just focus on a "zero budget increase" but on a "zero tax increase."
Mary O'Grady Brantford
Let's get a new city team for new talks with county
Land negotiations between the City of Brantford and the County of Brant must be reestablished with a new negotiation team for the greater common good.
The taxpayers of Brant and Brantford should not be penalized by the breakdown between the city and the county in land negotiations. We believe cooler heads should prevail to unlock the new tax revenue, the new jobs and new business potential represented by the estimated 5,000 acres held hostage by the dispute. Not using the land potential for a higher and needed use is both unfair and wasteful to all -- the property owners, the general taxpayers and the local economy.
If we cannot resolve local issues amongst ourselves, the province, as a higher authority, can force terms that could be less beneficial than a locally negotiated and controlled solution. This is a bad precedent for our local long-term autonomy.
Prior to giving up our jurisdiction over this dispute, we, the Brant Taxpayers Coalition, recommend that a new, more senior negotiation committee be established to resolve the issue. We suggest that the mayor and mayoral candidates -- councillors Littell, Sless and Cesci- Smith -- be part of this new committee. All members proposed have a track record of steady leadership and cool-headed, not inflammatory, and fair actions -- traits needed to resolve this important growth or anti-stagnation local issue with the county.
If it is broken, we can and should fix it locally, and remove those who are obstacles or in the way of progress, positive benefits and results for all parties concerned.
S. Holle Brantford