Volume 94, Issue 61

Thursday, January 11, 2001


Ontario finishes dead last - Education ranking puts province on defensive

Former prof talks politically incorrect

Economy slows down slightly: Ivey survey

What recession? City booms

New tax to create safety net

Drug testing could hit human rights violation snag

New club sets sights on stock market skills


Planet Me

New tax to create safety net

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

With the local economy healthy and robust, City Council is looking to ensure the proper financial reserves are in place to deal with a future recession.

The newly elected council is currently working towards a budget for the next year and included in the proposed budget is a 2.9 per cent increase in property taxes, according to deputy mayor Russ Monteith.

While the budget has not yet been finalized, council must work with an eye to the future when dealing with the City's finances, he said. "Whatever possible change we [make,] it will have some effect for the next five years," Monteith explained.

"If you use up the [financial] reserves to decrease the tax rate, you won't have the money during economic down periods. You want to keep your flexibility for the future."

The last property tax hike initiated by the City occurred three years ago, Monteith said. "Over those last three years you've had inflation and rises in fuel costs."

Monteith said a series of consultations and public hearings will take place before the final draft of the budget reaches London's Board of Control in the first week of February. The budget will then go to council for final approval on Feb. 22.

Jon Smith, a landlord with the London Property Corporation, which rents various houses to Western students, said students need not worry about a property tax hike leading to a raise in rent. "Student rents have stayed pretty much the same for the past 10 years," he said. "The market is so saturated there's nowhere for rents to go. London is way over built. It's just flooded with rental properties."

President of the Broughdale Homeowners Association, Alex Arthur, said permanent residents in the mostly rental-dominated communities surrounding the university feel property assessments may not take into account their circumstances.

"I think that we sometimes feel the property assessment is too high given that area has so many rental properties. No formula can take into account an individual house and its circumstances," he said. "I think a lot of people find it hard to believe property in London has gone up in value by three per cent."

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