Brighton looks at possible lawsuit to address flooding as it weighs options

As Brighton council weighs its options, Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander describes its next steps in the fight with the International Joint Commission over flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario. Council directed staff to seek legal advice that could involve the council, residents, and businesses in a lawsuit against the Commission. So far, it is going it alone. To find out why, please listen to this episode of Consider This. Also, in this interview hear how the mayor explains the nearly 5.5 per cent tax increase for the 2020 budget. Continue Reading →

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Fire service review, budget priorities and more from Hamilton Township Mayor Bill Cane

A $95,000 study of local fire service across Northumberland is underway, says Hamilton Township Mayor Bill Cane. There are 17 fire stations across the county, costing each municipality about $1 million to $1.5 million annually. With the provincial government anxious to cut costs at the municipal level, this is an important effort towards greater efficiency, Cane said. He also addresses Northumberland County council’s response to the concern of neighbours living near Transition House, the opioid epidemic and the rise of grow-ops in rural municipalities. Like all the municipalities within Northumberland, Hamilton Township faces many of the same issues: balancing budgets, providing critical services like fire and police protection. Continue Reading →

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Walmart gets more than $648,000 in total tax reimbursements, says town treasurer

Three separate local bodies will contribute more than $648,000 in tax reimbursements to Walmart after it won a major decision regarding a property reassessment announced in January. In an interview on Feb. 14, Cobourg Deputy Mayor Suzanne Seguin said Walmart received a tax break following an appeal to a provincial tribunal, costing the town $225,000 in its 2020 budget. The amount is about one per cent of the total budget, she said, adding it sent her back to find cuts to meet her target of a 1.9 per cent overall increase. Under the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), it is possible to appeal the value of the property, both residential and commercial. Continue Reading →

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Revelation about Walmart tax break sends Cobourg budget chief scrambling

The municipal budget is boring. That is until you get your tax bill. Then, suddenly, it hits home. No matter if you are a senior on a fixed income trying to stay in your home or a recent addition to the community who just bought a house, seeing those property taxes is a sober lesson in how vital it is to pay attention to the local municipal budget. First, Seguin explains how a decision by a property tax tribunal in favour of Walmart cost the town $475,000 and sent her scrambling to find savings in the budget to ensure the overall tax increase did not exceed the 1.9 per cent target she promised. Continue Reading →

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Cramahe citizen activist talks about zoning for cannabis, grow ops, muslim cemeteries and more

The Cramahe Community Association is not exactly a high profile citizen’s group. Yet for many years, Gritt Koehl and her husband, Ernie, have attended council meetings, written letters, organized residents and lobbied hard in an effort to hold politicians in her area to account. But don’t let the name of the group fool you. Gritt is not just active in Crahame Township, but also does her activist work in Alnwick-Haldimand and Brighton, as her website attests. In this interview, we talk about some of the pressing issues she and others are working on within East Northumberland. Continue Reading →

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