Where there’s a budget, there’s a tax hike
by Roger Varley
Uxbridge council’s finance committee approved the 2019 budget on Monday, setting the increase in property taxes at 4.86 per cent.
This means there will be an increase of about $56 in taxes on a home assessed at $525,000. However, taking into consideration the Region of Durham budget and the education portion, the increase will be about $156. Council’s news release said it estimates the total property taxes – (Uxbridge, Region and education) – for that $525,000 home will result in an overall property tax increase of 2.8 per cent.
At the same time, treasurer Donna Condon also showed a proposed 2020 budget that would see a 5.1-per-cent tax increase in that year. The press release warned that the township faces “many financial challenges which may result in future additional tax rate increases, changes in service levels or delays in capital projects.” Among those challenges are uncertainty about future funds from the provincial government under the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund and the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, the impact of new responsibilities downloaded by the province and the township’s limited potential for growth because of Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine legislation
This year’s budget will see operating costs of $16.4 million, while capital costs will reach almost $27 million. The capital costs include $17.6 million for the Brock Street culvert project. The budget was approved by committee unanimously, with no questions asked, and now goes to council next Monday for a final vote.
Finance committee chair Bruce Garrod said the overall budget “is being prudently managed.” He said council has “taken on the culvert project head-on” but noted that “tough decisions” were made regarding capital projects such as the replacement of Uxpool and the new animal shelter. On the animal shelter, Condon’s budget report said it is one of a few projects that “are NOT FINAL,” and further reports with more details are needed before it proceeds further. Garrod said the delay in the animal shelter is partly because submitted designs for the shelter would have seen construction costs climb to $2.1 million, well above the $1.6 million that had been estimated for the project.
No gate – Wagner’s Lake road allowance to stay open for boaters
By Roger Varley
Council once again addressed the issue of boat launching on Wagner’s Lake at Monday’s council meeting, and came down on the side of the boaters.
Residents of the Wagner’s Lake community had asked council to install a locked gate on a road allowance that boaters use to put their craft in the water. The residents complained of parked vehicles that could interfere with emergency vehicles, public urination and the possibility of damage to the lake.
However, Mayor Dave Barton said all Uxbridge residents should have the same access to the lake as Wagner’s Lake residents.
“They all pay taxes,” he said.
Scott Grieve, representing Wagner’s Lake residents, said the move to install a locked gate across the road allowance “is more to stop non-Uxbridge residents.” He said a combination lock would be preferred, with the number available at the township offices for anyone needing it. Councillor Willie Popp wondered how weekend users would get the combination, while Councillor Pam Beach opined that one person could tell another who could tell another, making the process useless.
Council eventually decided to keep the road allowance open.
Downtown rezoning one step closer
At a special hearing Monday night, council heard from planning consultant Elizabeth Howson on the plan to address the C3 (commercial) zoning in the downtown area of Uxbridge.
Howson said that rezoning the area after the Brock Street culvert is completed will enable the retail area to expand along Main Street and other roads, including allowing residences to be turned into commercial/retail outlets. She said “adaptive reuse of existing residential buildings is encouraged.”
The rezoning would also allow for development downtown in what is currently a flood plain. The culvert project will rectify this situation, and flood plain lines will change. Development could include allowing some buildings to be torn down and replaced. New buildings would be restricted, in most cases, to a minimum of two storeys and a maximum of four storeys.
Howson also said the rezoning would encourage a mix of business and residential properties in the downtown area in order to bring more people into the core of the township.
Goodwood News with Bev Northeast
At last! Spring has sprung! The snow will soon be gone and everyone will be out and about, cleaning up their yard and checking the gardens.
Mark your calendar – Saturday, May 4 is the Treasure Hunt, which is when you can put all the items you want to give away at the curb from 8 a. m. to 1 p.m. Hang a red balloon on your property if you want to attract attention to your free items. The Treasure Hunt is recycling at its best – it helps out others who might need your items and it keeps them out of the landfill!
We’re also planning a garage sale for the end of May, so let me know if you are interested in either program.
Now that the skating is done in Walter Taylor Park, it would be great to see some volunteers come out and pick up the garbage in the park to keep the park looking nice.
The Goodwood Baptist Church will be holding Sunday service at 11 a.m., and they have a full slate of music planned, with March 24 featuring Margaret Weir: March 31 will be with Susan Ryman; April 14 is with Anita & Oliver Lagerquist; April 21 will feature Lloyd Knight, and April 28 will be with Joan Allen.
The Ladies brunch is Saturday, April 13, at 10:30 a.m., with speaker Jen Oates sharing her mission experience and her plans to return to Thailand.
Bible Studies and Kids Club will be running as usual on Tuesday evenings, and don’t forget Vacation Bible Camp is scheduled for July 8-12, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. for children aged 4 through Grade 8. If you register before by June 1 you will receive a free t-shirt! A highlight of VBC this year will be on the Thursday afternoon, when animals from around the world will come to visit, tying into the theme of “The Incredible Race.”
Please don’t forget to express your thoughts to council on the development Grain Boys Inc. is planning on establishing east of town on Hwy. 47. Also, if you are interested in preserving the Lions Hall on the 3rd Conc. (Front Street) north of Hwy. 47. This hall was the county seat for this area and played a big role for the soldiers in the First World War. I understand Sam Sharpe met with the soldiers at the hall on numerous occasions. The Township plans to sell this building and it has history, and that history is ours to preserve for generations to come. Contact Eleanor Todd at 905-640-1580 and let her know you support her efforts to keep our past from being destroyed.
Thank you to everyone who drives at the speed limit, which shows respect for others on the road.
COFFEE SHOP CLINCHES BIKE-FRIENDLY AWARD
A popular downtown coffee shop was recently rewarded for being bicycle friendly. The Nexus Coffee Company, located at 19 Brock St. W., was selected as one of 13 recipients for the inaugural Bicycle-friendly Business Award, presented by Ontario by Bike™ at the Cycle Tourism Conference, held earlier this month in Toronto. Pictured above, from left: Nexus Coffee Company owner Arthur Field and manager Greg Sweet.
Ontario by Bike™ works with a variety of partners to develop and promote cycling and cycle tourism across Ontario. Through a network of over 1,500 certified bicycle-friendly businesses, they provide a comprehensive portal of information to help visitors and residents explore more of the province by bike. Photo from Facebook