Mulmur election 2018: Candidates for Mayor
We put the following three questions to those running for mayor and deputy mayor in Mulmur Township. Please see their numbered responses:
1. How do you balance the desire for a diversified tax base through development and new business while preserving farmland and rural property?
2. MPAC assessments are on the rise and taxes are going up. What can be done to make sure residents aren’t priced out of their own community?
3. While in office, what specific actions have you spearheaded to improve quality of life in Mulmur?
1. Mulmur is a rural community, and as such, we need to commit to providing extensive protection for our farmland and our water. Mulmur’s Official Plan along with Dufferin County’s Official Plan, and the Provincial Agriculture Mapping does just that. To ensure a diversified tax base, we are encouraging home businesses in desirable locations and designating carefully targeted development areas like the Primrose Business Park in order to increase our commercial tax revenue so that we can keep our taxes as low as possible, while still providing top-notch service for our ratepayers.
2. Since first elected to Council, I have been lobbying MPAC to come up with a better formula to ensure that property owners are never forced out of their homes because they cannot afford to pay the ever-increasing property taxes. Right now, taxes are based on the average price of properties within a certain area, which means if more expensive dwellings are built or property values rise because of demand in your particular MPAC area, your taxes will rise even if there have been no significant improvements to your property. Some relief is in sight as seniors and those with disabilities can now apply for a deferred tax plan. This means a certain portion of your tax can be deferred until you sell your property. It’s not a perfect plan, but it is a step in the right direction. In the meantime, I encourage residents to contact MPAC directly to request a review if they feel their taxes are unfair.
3. My belief is that Mulmur Council is a team, and that team is the force that makes things happen. Our team includes staff, Council and ratepayers. There is no “I” in TEAM! Over my 11 years on council, much has been accomplished by Team Mulmur, but focusing mostly on the last term, highlights include: Prevention of a needless and redundant expansion of NEC boundaries; Development of a 10-year financial plan; Adoption of a comprehensive Strategic Plan; Increased engagement of ratepayers through regularly scheduled, informative Town Hall Meeting and yearly Mulmur Day Celebrations; Revitalization of the Pine River Fishing Area; Passing of a bylaw to prevent the dumping of dirty fill within our township; generating income by sourcing a new insurance provider and installing revenue generating solar panels on municipal buildings; keeping Mulmur’s tax rate one of the lowest in the County and establishing a strong and respected presence at Dufferin County Council.
1. Mulmur will never be a place that will attract intensive industries that would significantly diversify the tax base. Our designated industrial lands are unserviced so their use will be limited to low impact commercial uses. With other serviced lots available in Shelburne and Orangeville, many industries will look there before Mulmur. Our industrial park was recently sold to a new owner and we need to determine what their plans for these lands are and how we can help in that process.
At the same time, the implementation of the Growth Plan policies within the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Agriculture System designation will ensure no further fragmentation of the agricultural land base by severance. While this decreases the number of lots our municipality has available for building, it will protect the agricultural land base.
Mulmur should look to Mansfield for residential development where we have capacity to include more homes in our existing water system. I would like to see housing in Mansfield that would allow for more of our seniors to “age in place”.
2. Our tax bill is made up of our Assessment value times our municipal tax rate (Mulmur and Dufferin County) plus education levy. In Mulmur, our tax rate was adjusted down in 2018 to reflect the increased assessment. All levels of government must be aware that there is only one taxpayer that will ultimately pay the bill. Excessive spending demands on the part of the municipalities and County will only drive the tax bill up. Demand by our residents for better roads and municipal services will also drive the tax bill up.
Mulmur has a very slow growing population and will always have to balance services with the limited amount of tax revenue that we receive. If we build our reserves, we will be able to take advantage of granting programs that require matching dollars to undertake large infrastructure projects.
3. Many of the things that happen at Council are driven by the council team and the staff at the office. There are a few things I will take the credit for but these things could not occur without the talents and efforts of the many Mulmur volunteers that made them happen….
I worked with the Shelburne Library, Booklore and Mulmur readers to present four years of Authors in the Hills of Mulmur. This attracted more than 500 people to spend an afternoon in the beautiful barns of Mulmur with famous Canadian authors.
I created the strategy and Chaired the Mulmur 150 Committee. Mulmur hosted 14 events during 2017; attracting more than 1100 people.
I spearheaded our now annual Mulmur Day Event; that brings our community together.
With Councillor Lowry, we brokered the agreement for the North Dufferin Community Centre with Melancthon. Our vision is for a multi-use community hub in Honeywood.
If I become Mayor of Mulmur, I will encourage more volunteers to be involved to help us keep improving the quality of life in our very special place!