Some Residents Oppose Proposed Tax Increase in Amherstburg

am800-news-amherstburg-town-council-public-budget-session-november-7-2020

Amherstburg's 2021 Draft Budget didn’t receive a lot of positive feedback at a public session Saturday.

The town held an information session at the Libro Centre at 3295 Meloche Rd and via ZOOM to get public opinion on a budget that would see a 7.55 per cent tax increase.

"All this money that you're asking for comes directly out from under our Christmas trees, off of our table and off of the backs of our children," says resident Derek Roddy.

Its 2021 draft budget attributes the COVID-19 pandemic for causing a major shortfall while the town still needs to pay for infrastructure projects and services.

Roddy told council the town needs to look at cutting projects, not raising taxes.

"If you're spending more money than you can afford to maintain, stop spending your money then and manage it better," he says. "I think that we failed to consider the average tax payer doesn't want all of this fancy ... a perfect example is the building you're sitting in right now [The Libro Centre] that loses a tremendous amount of money every year."

Hailey McLean says many people are out of work or underemployed.

"I had to step back from my position in order to homeschool my children and we're looking at a 7.55 per cent increase on our already extremely high property taxes at a time when our services are being restricted," she says."It's just absurd to me."

The tax increase could be the breaking point for many homeowners, according to resident Joe Vereclli.

"It's pretty difficult for a lot of families in this town to achieve on fixed incomes and there are quite a few of those families in this town," he says. "Of course there will be deliberations and they're going to try to cut some I'm sure, but hopefully it's manageable to the point where we're not depleting too much."

If the budget passed as is, the increase would account for an extra $185 on a home assessed at $250,000.

Budget deliberations are scheduled for Nov. 17, 18 and 19.

Amherstburg's 2021 draft budget will be available on the town's Talk the Burg website.