Former Mayoral candidate and current Ward 2 candidate Ron Schinners says that city taxpayers have been misled for years by tax and spend politicians who claimed that Sault Ste. Marie municipal taxes were in line or better than other Ontario cities.“Not the case at all,” stated Schinners, who is also the President of the Sault Ste. Marie Taxpayers’ Federation.
“Sault MPP David Orazietti has conceded that the cityreceives provincial government funding five times the provincial average yet municipal taxes rates are still among the highest in Ontario.”
Millions of dollars of funding comes by way of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF), a provincial transfer program which helps municipalities with the cost of operating
social programs and services. Schinners said that in 2015, the city received $16 million, which was five times the provincial average. That is just part of the funding.
Over $15 more came from other programs. “Despite the fact that these career politicians have been telling us that zero percent tax increases are not possible and that they have to raise taxes within the rate of inflation, neither of these things make any sense. The
facts are that instead of using the millions of dollars of external funding to off set property tax increases, they took the money, and then went on foolish spending sprees.
“Those who voted for the2013 budget that spent $50,000 on carpet replacement at the civic center and $200,000 to replace carpet at the main branch library. Does spending
more than it would cost for a price of a house on carpet sound like fiscal responsibility?” Schinners stated that over the last term, council voted to increase residential taxes by a total of 8.62%while increasing spending, and helping to balloon the city’s operating budget to its highest figure in Sault Ste. Marie’s history. The city budget was $168,008,864 in2010.
Schinners claims that with out of control spending and tax hikes, the city budget was
raised to $183,509,351 in2014, an increase of 9.23%. “ I will put an end to this by exposing the truth, what career politicians might not want you to hear. The annual public
sector salary disclosure act reveals that tax hikes have added more members to the Sunshine Club.
In 2006, there were only 16 employees of the City of Sault Ste. Marie who
made public salaries of more than $100,000. By 2014, there were 124 employees making that. The “Sunshine Club” has expanded by1,290% in eight years due to many budgets that
were supported by tax and spenders. It’s time to put a stop to the gravy train. It’s time to start respecting the taxpayer.”