Servicing limits growth, tax burden falls to existing residents

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At one last budget meeting on Feb. 27, Clearview council has reduced the overall tax increase to 4.75 per cent.

At the suggestion of Councillor Marty Beelen, the resurfacing of the Stayner arena hall floor, at a cost of $75,000, was deferred to 2024 as a way of eliminating costs, and a portable washroom for the Nottawa ball park at an estimated cost of $75,000 was also deferred in order to do more research about leasing.

The cuts follow a public meeting held Feb. 9 when three residents took turns questioning expenditures and specific services.

At that meeting, treasurer Kelly McDonald said staff had stretched tax dollars as far as they could.

“Neighbouring municipalities do not have this level of service,” she said, outlining tax-supported infrastructure including: 249 km of roads, 73 bridges and culverts, 21 km of sidewalks, three library branches, five fire stations, two arenas, two curling clubs, a swimming pool, 10 baseball diamonds, five soccer pitches, and five tennis courts, plus OPP and the NVCA.

“We hear in the public quite a bit that our taxes are too high, they’re way too high,” said McDonald.

She said Clearview has the fourth highest taxes in Simcoe County under Midland, Penetanguishene, and Collingwood.

“We’re at the high end but in reality it’s pretty close,” said McDonald.

She said with low growth, fairly low assessment and a lack of commercial and industrial businesses, the majority of the tax burden falls on existing residential property owners, with 61 per cent of Clearview’s income drawn from residential taxes.

On the theme of growth, director of public works Mike Rawn reported to council on Feb. 27 that the Stayner drinking water system is at capacity and with a funding plan to expand the system having fallen through last year, a new plan as to how to finance a solution is needed.

What little remaining capacity has been purchased by existing developments, including the second phase of Nottawasaga Station – 118 units at 6934 and 7044 Highway 26 – given final approval that same night.

“There is no water for anything else,” said Rawn. “This is not a good news story.”

He said staff is contemplating an interim bylaw to freeze water allocation until a solution can be found.

After committed capacity is accounted for, only 606 m3/day is available until the capacity production limit is reached.

Community grants

Council approved $31,250 in community grants at the Feb. 27 meeting, allocating about half of the $63,000 budgeted for 2023.

A committee of council and staff is tasked with approving the grants each year based on applications from volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organizations providing services to Clearview Township residents.

Deputy Mayor Paul Van Staveren said the committee decided to leave money available for food banks and other community needs as they arise.

Community grants approved:

  • Brentwood Horticultural Society, $700 – Community beautification projects and honorarium for guest speakers;
  • Clearview Minor Hockey Association, $1,000 – Purchase pucks and pinnies;
  • Creemore Horticultural Society, $1,000 – Community beautification projects, education and participation in community events;
  • Girl Guides (New Lowell) $1,000, – Air purifier for rental space;
  • Magic of Children in the Arts, $1,000 – Fund supplies for in- school free workshops for Grades 3, 6 and 8 at NLPS, NPS, CMPS and NCPS;
  • Resources for Area Youth Success (RAYS), $1,000 – To support local youth in pursuing post- secondary education by offering abursary program for tools, books, transportation, accommodation;
  • SilverShoe Historical Society, $750 – Maintenance and improvements to the monuments of Bethel Union Cemetery/Sunnidale Pioneer historical site;
  • South Simcoe 4-H, $500 – Fee discount for registration fees for members of the youth leadership development and mentoring programs;
  • Stayner Heritage Society, $500 – Heritage events and cost of speakers;
  • Stayner Garden Club, $1,000 – Community beautification projects, plants and perennials;
  • Stayner Lawn Bowling Club, $1,000 – Purchase small bowls for small hands and arthritic bowlers, blower and trimmer for maintenance;
  • Creemore Farmers’ Market, $500 – Cover cost of music for the shoulder season;
  • Friends of Stayner Union Cemetery, $300 – Plant and maintenance of plants at the entrance of the Stayner Union Cemetery;
  • Senior Wish Association, $500 – Christmas/Holiday Wish Program providing gifts to seniors;
  • Breaking Down Barriers, $2,500 – Provide accessibility support/services, guest speakers and outreach education and activity kits for clients;
  • Clearview Community Church, $2,500 – To support the clothing depot for families and individuals in need in our community;
  • Clearview Community Theatre, $2,000 – Purchasing materials, insurance and hall rental for travelling troupes and youth theatre production. If Covid does not allow for performing, then rent and insurance;
  • Creemore Cats, $1,000 – Spay/neuter program, food and vaccinations;
  • Home Horizon Transitional Program, $2,000 – Counselling/ housing for homeless youth;
  • Hospice Georgian Triangle Foundation, $2,500 – Provide 25 grief counselling sessions or 250 meals or four days of care atCampbell House or one month of essential medical supplies;
  • My Friends’ House shelter for women and children, $ 2,000 – transportation costs;
  • Creemore Legion, $1,000 – Canada Day Celebration events;
  • The Living Wish Foundation, $1,000 – To assist in granting wishes of terminally ill patients;
  • Creemore Firefighters Association, $2,500 – Refinishing and restoration of the antique fire truck;
  • Stayner Hitmen Lacrosse, $1,000 – Pink in the Rink and Hitmen Showdown Tournament;
  • 1944 EME RCACC Army Cadet Corp of Creemore, $500 – Winter training and paying for any costs to use locations for winter training, meals, snacks, drinks and supplies.
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