Corman Park tax change brings mixed emotion
The proposed property tax hike of 36 per cent has been rolled back in the
Rural Municipality of Corman Park.
After a special meeting on Monday the tax increase was reduced to 20 per cent, but many residents of the rural municipality are still not pleased.
"It is a start and it's appreciated that council revisited the budget," said Garry Derenoski.
"But I don't think the council got the gist of what the tax payers were not happy about."
With a tax hike of 17 per cent in 2011 and the new increase Derenoski said that it is still 37 per cent in two years.
He said it will not touch the issues of fairness, affordability and development within the municipality.
"Why in this tax change, will some people pay $75 and some will be up to $200," he said.
The difference in tax increases has to do with the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association's property tax system that is based on home assessments.
Agricultural property, such as farms are
assessed lower than residential property and therefore will have smaller tax
"What I think is unfortunate is that a lot of people have drawn the line between farming and people who live on acreages, certainly those are issues that need to be sorted out," Derenoski said.
Over 64 per cent of Corman Park properties were assessed as residential in 2011, only 15 per cent were agricultural.
People were also concerned about the tax's effect on future expansion and development for the rural municipality and the affordability of residing there in the future.
"Investors aren't going to invest in an environment where the (rural municipality) is out of control and can't manage their budget," Derenoski said.
The meeting, which lasted more than three hours, had heated debates along with heated moments.
"It was so bad that I left the room and brought the Chief of Police in and asked him to restore order," said Division 4 Councillor Gordan Gunoff.
He agreed that the tax reduction was a step forward but said it may not have been the right step.
"What I proposed was a $200 flat tax across the board. I wanted to have it spread out evenly for everybody. I think the tax system is unfair in Corman Park," he said.
Judy Harwood also attended the meeting. She used to be a councillor in Corman Park and said that she was pleased that at least they revisited the budget.
"But I think what they have to do is come up with a plan. I think that's what's lacking right now," she said.
She said that if people really want change the best thing they can do is hit the polls this fall.
"This election coming up is an election for the Reeve and that position will be a three-year term," she said.
"People better pay attention."