Thursday, November 15, 2018

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At their April 28 meeting, Meaford's council gave final approval to discontinue the area rating for policing services in 2014 to “incorporate and equalize the municipal police contract costs into the overall general municipal tax rate.”

Less than a year ago, in May of 2013, Meaford's council voted in favour of a plan to gradually equalize police service payments by residents in the municipality of Meaford over five years, however at their April 14 committee of the whole meeting, council voted in favour of implementing full equalization immediately.

Since amalgamation in 2001, property owners in the former town of Meaford have been paying 70 percent of policing costs while Sydenham and St. Vincent residents have each been responsible for roughly 15 percent of policing costs.

The plan approved by council last year shifted some of the burden of supporting policing costs by reducing the contribution of property owners in the former town of Meaford to 60 percent, while St. Vincent and Sydenham were each then responsible for 20 percent. The balance of the equalization will take place over the course of a five year plan announced at the May 13, 2013 council meeting.

Based on the 2012 statistics that were provided through the OPP, for the former town of Meaford the call volume was 56 percent, for St. Vincent it was 20 percent, and for the former Sydenham it was roughly 24 percent.

The elimination of the area rating in 2014 provides a full equalization and a fully equitable approach to the costs of policing services for the Municipality of Meaford. This methodology would also collect the necessary taxes from all taxpayers for policing services consistent with the proposed new billing model of the Ontario Provincial Police which is based on a cost per household,” said the municipality in a press release issued Tuesday.

As a result of the immediate equalization, property owners in urban Meaford will see a reduction in their tax bills, while residents in the rural areas of the municipality will experience an increase.

Very generally, the following guideline, based on per $100,000 assessment value, is provided for residents and property owners to calculate the estimated change to their taxes specific to contracted policing services," said the municipality.

Former Meaford Township

Per $100,000 assessment

($100.77)

Former Sydenham Township

Per $100,000 assessment

$40.31

Former St. Vincent Township

Per $100,000 assessment

$56.01

Meaford Treasurer, Darcy Chapman, told council on April 14 that staff were seeking a decision sooner rather than later as the municipality will be officially setting the 2014 tax rates in the near future.

Chapman provided council with various scenarios in his report including continuing with a phase-out process, however council decided it was best to end the area ratings this year.

Councillor Lynda Stephens told council that 2014 was a good year to end the area ratings since the tax increase for 2014 is quite modest.

Ripping off the bandage in one year when our tax increase is as close to zero as we're going to get, is the year to do it,” offered Stephens.


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