“We will never raise taxes 12-20%”

19

As the headline reads, this is what Steve Butland said at city council tonight.

As the mayor pointed out, Christian Provenzano said the reason for the press reports on the possibility of raising taxes 12 to 20 per cent was to levy the situation with the legal side of the matter with Essar Steel owing around $30-million in taxes to the city.

City councilor Marchy Bruni and Butland were approached heavily over the weekend after media reports that council was going to raise taxes 20 per cent.

Their response was a resounding “no,” to city homeowners and business owners.

“We will be run out of town,” Butland said if they raised taxes that much, “and a lot of people will be joining us,” he continued.

“We have already put seniors in a panic mode,” he also said.

Butland said they will go the provincial government or the federal government or even borrow to stop from raising taxes.

He referred to lenders taking full-page ads in the Sault Star about the potential of the steel mill.

He said the city has gone through a few of these troubles with the steel mill and that the city “will pull through.”

19 COMMENTS

  1. why did the city leave unpaid taxes for sooooo long, the city should have been on their asses long time ago!!! if it was one of our tax payers, we would have lost our homes!!

    • Hi Richard,

      Yes, every single person who works for the city should start planning for pay reductions or 0% pay increases AT BEST during the next round of contract negotiations. Nobody will lose their city job because there is a lot of work to do, but they will definitely NOT be getting automatic yearly pay increases like they have been getting for the past 30 years. We Sault businesses and citizens just can’t afford city worker and management’s automatic yearly pay increases any more.

      Sincerely,
      MAB

      • Try telling that to the firefighters, EMT’s, and Police unions, MAB. Good luck with all that. At least 80% of taxes paid go into these pockets

        • Hi Bernie,

          Yes, police and fire workers’ pay is negotiated by the province so the city plays no part in the money they get, but there is a by-election coming up so maybe we can get that changed so that police and fire workers have their pay negotiated totally LOCALLY so that all cities and towns across the province can pay their police and fire workers what the businesses and citizens can actually AFFORD?

          Or our police and fire service workers could realize that they are literally taking money out of their neighbours’ pockets during this extremely difficult financial time for Sault businesses and residents and VOLUNTARILY offer to take 0% on year by year basis until we residents are more financially capable of affording raises for these heroes who serve and protect us every day.

          Sincerely,
          MAB

  2. lol…Mark must have suddenly got a city job. He has NEVER been very positive about city affairs in the past.
    Mr Butland seems to think he is still the MAYOR….time for a few of the hangerons to retire.

    • Hi Bri,

      No I didn’t get a job with the city. I just call it like I see it.

      There are still a lot of things that I think this council has done wrong like raising our taxes 4.34% in 2017 while cutting almost $1 Million dollars worth of road resurfacing work, and cutting Sunday bus service so that low wage workers have to pay $20 taxi fares to get to work early Sunday morning while RISING transit fares, eliminating the two free weeks of landfil access each year, and all of the loss of all the JOBS that go along with the many many cuts they have made during these VERY TOUGH economic times for us Sault residents, but this city council’s handling of this Essar situation has been FANTASTIC in my humble opinion.

      Yes, this has been a very hard time for all of us, but we’re on the verge getting the taxes that Essar’s owes and getting our steel plant back. Let’s all just take a deep breath because Now is definitely NOT the time to panic.

      We are very close to the end of this thing, and we are all going to be okay.

      Sincerely,
      MAB

  3. I just put my house up for sale and going to move to an unorganized township.
    The taxes could easily go up 15-23% here, stick around and see.
    If the steel mill doesn’t survive this city will be in huge trouble, the taxpayers will suffer the brunt of it, of course.
    If Essar has anything to do with this deal, Cliffs will not be supplying them any iron ore.
    It’s not looking good, if you are a praying person it’s a good time to start praying.

    • Hi George,

      Selling your house right now is going to lose you A LOT of $$$. Taxes will not be going up. The city will get all of the money Essar owes in back taxes, and the steel plant will survive. Like I said, selling right now will take a huge chunk out of your retirement money. Plus you’re going to have to move all of your stuff 🙁

      Sincerely,
      MAB

  4. This still doesn’t explain how the City didn’t have a plan for the taxes they are owed for the last 3+ years except hope they’ll get it all. Between the last Council and this, the first plan they come up with is to hit homeowners with another 20% in taxes. They could have not spent everything they didn’t collect. Even saving 25% could have bought them a year before we got to this point. Instead, City Hall will do as they always want to do and place the burden on the taxpayer rather than make the hard decisions to protect the taxpayer.

    • Hi Steve,

      They do have a plan. The law says that Property Taxes are the FIRST thing that MUST be paid at the end of a CCAA process. But NOBODY expected this CCAA process to last sooo… long. We’re going to get the back taxes, and the steel plant will survive.

      The Sault is on it’s way up!!!

      Sincerely,
      MAB

      • Mr. Brown, their plan was the status quo: set the tax levy and spend the levy. The only difference was they weren’t collecting Essar’s rather large share (at least 6% of the total levy) which resulted in the use of reserves to cover for the Essar taxes not collected. There was no contingency plan considered by Council in the event that less than 100% was paid (no one says that a settlement couldn’t be reached) or payment was delayed. It’s generally not fiscally prudent to spend money you don’t have, especially if you haven’t had it for over three years.

        Also, the phrase “post-filing taxes” is being thrown around far too much for my liking. It’s making me concerned that there were pre-CCAA filing taxes that we’re not hearing about. It concerns me that the thing in the Sault on its way up the fastest is our property taxes.

        • Hi Steve,

          Please call me Mark.

          All property tax increases so far have come as a result of city council decisions, and NOT because Essar has not payed its taxes.

          The city has been borrowing money from a huge $25 Million dollar Sewer Surcharge RESERVE it had so they wouldn’t have to pay loan interest. That RESERVE money has now all been used up because this process has taken soooo…. long. So, so far taxpayers have not felt a thing because of the Essar situation.

          When Essar filed for CCAA back in 2015 one of the conditions for them to get CCAA was that they would HAVE TO pay their property taxes DURING the CCAA process, but the plant managed by Kaylan Gosh and NO LONGER CONTROLLED BY Essar Global did NOT pay its property taxes like it was supposed to do, and the Kaylan Gosh managed plant has not paid a cent in property tax to this day.

          When Essar Steel Algoma filed for CCAA in November of 2015 they owed about $14 Million dollars in back taxes, so the amount they haven’t paid since filing in November 2015 (the “post-filing taxes”) is about $12.5 Million dollars.

          The city needs that $12.5 Million NOW to do the sewer work we need done, and because we don’t have any RESERVE money left to CARRY the extremely PROFITABLE Kaylan Gosh managed plant. For goodness sake the man’s own mother only carried him for 9 months.

          Taxes will not go up because of unpaid taxes by Essar.

          Sincerely,
          MAB

  5. Mr.Butland’s comments are ridiculous. The equivalent statement is ” We would never take your home or car, but we will settle for your food and blankets!” Meaning an 11% tax hike is plausible! These councillors NEED TO GO!!!

    • Hi Mike,

      This Council didn’t create the Essar problem. They are just managing it on our behalf. The simple fact is that no 13 people in all of Sault Ste. Marie could have done ANYTHING differently than the 13 who are sitting there right now, and because of this city council’s efforts there is an extremely STRONG likelihood that we will get a lot of the taxes that Essar owes BY THE END OF MAY.

      Sincerely,
      MAB

  6. The problem I have with this councillor is he has a history of lying to taxpayers.Like his drunk driving conviction not being mentioned till after the municipal election.The reason this City in this Situation with Essar Steel is because of Career politicians like this guy.We pat the highest property taxes in Ontario because of Councillors like this guy.THESE COUNCILLOR A WHO have been there more than two terms are the problem with what’s wrong with this City and their bad decisions.

    • Hi Ron,

      How is Annie? Tell her I say hi.

      Listen, you and I are friends, but that was a very low blow, and as far as councilor Butland’s guarantee about no tax increases because of Essar… it’s MONEY IN THE BANK. They’ll delay sewer reconstruction, and let peripheral roads go, and give up the re-cladding of city hall before they will ever even THINK about raising our taxes.

      IF it ever gets to that point. Which it WON’T.

      The steel plant will survive, and the Sault is on its way up!!!

      Sincerely,
      MAB

  7. I am not a home owner, but when i am it will not be in Sault Ste. Marie…. taxes are on par with Southern Ontario yet Sault Ste. Marie does not have the infrastructure or the services to justify such tax rates/hikes. I WAS SAVING FOR A HOME HERE, BUT NOW i’LL BE SAVING, SO I CAN MOVE AWAY FROM HERE.

    • Hi Brandon,

      Not buying a home in Sault Ste. Marie would be a mistake. Especially right now. Do you actually think there is some place better to LIVE than Sault Ste. Marie? Maybe you’ll get full time work someplace where the cost of living is super high, but that will leave you no money to actually LIVE your life. What’s so good about that?

      Trust me. The steel plant will survive so take your savings and buy a little house here over the next couple of weeks while the prices are still low, and it will be the start of a very full life close to friends and family.

      The Sault is on its way up!!!

      Sincerely,
      MAB

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