March 10th Meeting on 2015 Bracebridge Budget

On March 10, 2015, Bernie Jaroscak attended Bracebridge council meeting at which the 2015 Bracebridge draft budget was reviewed line by line and many items discussed in length.  The meeting started at 9am, Bernie left at 5pm and he believes the meeting ended at 9pm.

Bernie has been to many budget meetings and said that all councilors (including the newly elected Don Smith, Chris Wilson and Archie Buie) were most aggressive in posing specific questions, asking for supporting documents or rational for the spending.

One Muskoka

One Muskoka is a group of concerned taxpayers seeking an independent review of the governance structure of Muskoka to reduce duplication and overlap among Muskoka’s seven existing municipal governments.  They believe that the governance model should be designed with maximum efficiencies and lower costs while delivering high quality service.

For more details visit the One Muskoka website.  You can show your support by liking their facebook page.

As the October 27th election approaches, One Muskoka are looking for supporters to put a “Taxation Without Duplication” sign on their property.  Bernie Jaroscak has requested signs for posting in our area and will let us know when they are available.

Draft 2014 Bracebridge Municipal Budget

The draft Municipal Budget as presented reflects a total Budget increase of 3.43%. The growth in Bracebridge’s taxable assessment as established by the MPAC Market Change Profile Estimated Phase-In Growth Report (Roll Edition) – December, is .95%.

This means that the draft 2014 Municipal Budget as contained in Appendix “A” to Staff Report FN005-14 requires a 2014 levy increase of 2.48% (excluding growth). This impacts a residential assessment of $200,000 (using the Year 1 Phase-in 2012 assessment value for 2013 tax year) as follows:

Year                                                                      Tax impact

2014                                                                            $789.59

2013                                                                            $770.48

Town – General increase 2014 over 2013                      $19.11

Click here to see the meeting agenda and draft Municipal Budget  to be reviewed on Mar 4, 2014.

I would recommend that as many members as possible attend the March 4, 2014 Meeting. I am sure there will be additional discussions on the budget during the meeting.

High Cost of Leadership in Muskoka

The Two Tier Government in the District of Muskoka is costing Taxpayers One Million Dollars a Year in duplication.

In the January edition of What’s Up, Mayor Bob Young of the Township of Lake of Bays advocates for increased salaries for mayors and councillors. He further suggests that the mayor’s position, due the heavy workload and important responsibilities, should be a full time position with a salary to reflect the increased time on the job.

So, how much do Muskoka taxpayers currently spend on part-time leadership across Muskoka? To help compare, it was noted in the same article that the Mayor of London Ontario receives a salary of $130,900 with population of 366,151 residents.

Let’s add together the salaries for the District chairman, mayors and the salaries they receive for their positions on District Council: Mayor Young $38,137, Mayor Doughy      $33,224, Mayor Smith $36,153, Mayor Donaldson $37,221, Mayor Murphy $36,137, Chairman Klinck $72,300. For their work on the District Council each mayor receives and additional $14,500 (X6) for a total of $87,000. (Please note the salary for Mayor Larry Braird of Township of Georgian Bay has not been included, but his district council salary has been)

Now add the direct salaries as mayor and the district council salary and the grand total is: $340,172. 

The Second Home Study conducted by the staff at the District office was released in December 2013. The study confirmed that the seasonal population is 83,203 and combined with the permanent population of 59,220, the Muskoka population is 142,423.

Are Muskokans paying too much for elected leadership?  Given the current cost of leadership here, London Ontario residents are really getting a bargain by Muskoka standards.

Or is it time to consider, one full time mayor for Muskoka? Would a salary of $300,000 be attractive enough to interest a forward thinker with both skills and knowledge to bring Muskoka in the 21st century? One who would pull Muskoka together for the benefit of all residents?

We think all Muskokans should consider One Muskoka! One Mayor!

Sincerely,

Evelyn Brown, Catherine King, Mike Provan

One Muskoka

Do you want to contest your property assessment?

The Provincial Government with the help of WRAFT, CAPTR and pressure from many Cottagers Associations have frozen assessments for 2 years. Your property was reassessed in 2012.  If you would like to contest your property assessment, you need to file a Request for Reassessment (RFR).

To do this, go to www.aboutmyproperty.ca.  On this website you can view your own property profile and check it for accuracy, and get free detailed Information on properties that are similar to yours.  Remember only the dwelling need be similar (square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, basement or not), landscaping and other esthetics are not important at this point. Drive around your lake, other lakes, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst etc. and and when you see a similar property write down the address (911 number) and street name. You may use non-waterfront properties but you will have to allow for the difference in property value. You may call MPAC Bracebridge Office at 705-645-8994 and get the value of your property (land only) that was used for your 2012 assessment, also obtain from MPAC a property figure for non waterfront property owners. You are better off locating your own properties for comparison.

You have until March 31, 2014 to submit your RFR for 2013 Tax year and may resubmit annually for further reductions.

BE AS DETAILED AS POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE POINT THAT YOUR ASSESSMENT IS OUT OF LINE. ALSO MAKE SURE YOU GIVE MPAC A VALUE THAT YOUR ASSESSMENT SHOULD BE IN YOUR LETTER BASED ON YOUR ANALYSIS.

Pictures speak a thousand words, take pictures of the properties you used for your comparison, identify with address and include in you cover letter along with pictures of your home.

Contact me for Excel Spreadsheets for use on your RFR, once you begin to enter the data for your property and comparison properties you have selected the chart and graphs will emerge on the Excel Spreadsheet.

Bernie Jaroscak bjaroscak@ncweb.com