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Economic Development And Education Taxes Top Municipal Election Survey

CKDO and Durham Business Groups to Host Live Election Debates. Concerned about how tax increases would impact your business or yourself personally as a property taxpayer? Find out how municipal election candidates would address these and other issues by tuning in to live debates on CKDO 107.7FM/1580AM Radio. The Durham Region Association of REALTORS®, Durham Region Home Builders’ Association and the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce have teamed up with Durham Radio Inc., owner of CKDO Radio to bring you the debates.

The debates will be broadcast live on CKDO 107.7FM/1580AM Radio from the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 43, on September 28, 29 and 30 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. each evening (see page. 13 for debate details). “As the voice of business, the Chamber encourages members of the business community and all citizens of Oshawa to understand the issues that will shape our future,” says Chamber President, John Walker. “Be informed, tune in and make sure you vote.”

Durham Radio is pleased to team up with these three business organizations on this initiative. “The idea of promoting candidates’ debate of the issues is fundamental to our system of democracy and in this way, Durham Radio can assist in providing a platform for all citizens of Oshawa to be able hear the debate and get to know the candidates and their positions on key issues in the campaign,” says Doug Kirk, President of Durham Radio.

With the Municipal Election this coming October, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce has put in place a Municipal Election Task Force. In mid August the Task Force polled the Chamber membership to determine what issues were of concern to business. The topics on the survey dealt with issues that were within the Municipal Governments sphere of influence and ranged from transit, parks, waste management, infrastructure issues, such as the Harbour to land use planning and taxation. In addition, between 20–25% of the municipal property taxes paid goes to education, the survey asked three questions on education.

Respondents were asked to rate the issues on a scale of 0 to 5 with 0 being of no concern and 5 of major concern. The survey asked the respondents to rate the issue as to its concern to the business.

The six key issues of concern or major concern to the business community were Economic Development with 92% of respondents feeling this should be of concern or major concern to the Chamber, followed closely by Finance and Taxation, Hwy 407 Extension, Downtown Rejuvenation, Environment, and the sixth issue with 55% rate was Business Property Taxes.

Key Issues of Concern

Economic Development         92%
Finance and Taxation            78%
Hwy 407 Extension               74%
Downtown Rejuvenation       74%
Environment                           57%

Business Property Taxes      55%

Key Education Concerns

No accountability to municipalities or the property taxpayer    76%
Decisions could be contrary to good municipal planning    60%
No requirement for municipal or business leader on ARC    55%

During the last election in 2006, a similar survey was presented to the membership and the Harbour and the Airport in the 2006 survey were of major concern earning an 86% and 80% respectively. In the 2010 survey they garnered 48% Harbour and 36% Airport.

The Education section was added to the 2010 survey as property taxes collected by the municipality go to the four school boards with no oversight by the municipality. Of concern or major concern for 76% of respondents was that School Boards have no accountability to municipalities or the property taxpayers, followed closely with 60% feeling School Board decisions that are contrary to good municipal planning could undermine the local economy, and 55% of respondents were concerned that the Ministry no longer requires a municipal or business leader to be on school accommodation review committees.

“The Chamber’s key advocacy areas outlined in its Strategic Plan target these issues”, stated Bob Malcolmson, CEO of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber feels nothing can hurt business more than huge tax increases and bad planning which could be a deterrent to new business locating in Oshawa.”

“A long standing issue of major concern for Durham REALTORS® is the inflated property taxes Oshawa residents and businesses must endure,” explained Dierdre Mullen, President of the Durham Region Association of REALTORS®. “As REALTORS®, we see first hand how property tax hikes can impact the affordability for current residents and deter potential new homeowners”.

“For the last 57 years our association has been and continues to be the voice of the residential construction industry in Durham Region promoting affordability and choice of high quality homes for the residents of the City of Oshawa and the Region of Durham” commented Rebecca Evans, President of the Durham Region Home Builders’ Association, “thus, we are always keeping a mindful eye on the political, economical, and recreational landscape of the area striving to create the lifestyle deserved by hardworking residents”.

Key areas of advocacy outlined in the Strategic Plan of each organization also include the elimination of inequities in property taxes; promote efficient methods of delivering government services, and lack of serviced industrial land in Oshawa and the Region and the harbour.

The business community understands that with Oshawa being designated by the province for urban intensification, a balanced approach to Economic Development is critical to maintaining a balanced tax base in the future for Oshawa.