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Better Together

Action Plan for Oakville

Restoring Responsible Fiscal Management to Oakville

Like most people in Oakville, as an entrepreneur and mother, I’ve had to manage the finances of my businesses and my family every month and every year of my adult life. I understand first-hand how hard it can be to make ends meet. When I first started my business, success often seemed far less likely than failure. But, like you, I was always careful with my money, never over-extending myself or spending money I didn’t have.
I understand the significant impact tax increases can have on people’s lives. It can mean the difference between affording, or not affording, recreational programs or braces for your children, or taking that holiday you’ve been saving for.

That’s why I’m deeply concerned with Mayor Burton’s tax and spend record.

12-Year Record of Tax Increases

Oakville’s current Mayor has a perfect record of increasing residential property taxes, significantly above the rate of inflation, every year he has been in power.

Year Oakville Residential Property Tax Increase
2007 +3.33%
2008 +9.9%
2009 +7.3%
2010 +4.29%
2011 +5.80%
2012 +6.39%
2013 +2.97%
2014 +2.07%
2015 +2.74%
2016 +2.36%
2017 +3.63%
2018 +2.51%
+64% Cumulative Property Tax Increase

Oakville’s residential tax rates have shown a compounded increase of 64% between 2006 and 2017 alone. That’s more than 3X the rate of inflation.

Cumulative Tax Increases Cost You $700 or More

The impact on the average residential home is about $700 in increased taxes; +44% above the rate of inflation. Oakville residents now pay $8,087 on the average home, the third highest in the GTA.

Halton Region and School Board Can Keep Taxes Low

In contrast, Halton Region has responsibly kept tax below the rate of inflation, and the Halton Public School Board hasn’t increased taxes at all.

Using Political Spin to Fool You is Wrong

Oakville residents are shocked to learn how significantly their taxes have increased. How did this happen? Some politicians try to confuse you on tax increases by using political spin – disguising the increases by combining them with the Region and School Board tax rates. Remember, their rates haven’t increased at all or have only marginally increased.

The Town of Oakville’s Spending is Getting Out of Control
  • Town spending has DOUBLED since 2006, from $144.6 million to $291.1 million in 2017.
  • 5X rate of inflation. Spending is increasing at 5 times the rate of inflation, which increased 18% over the same time.
  • Our Spending is Growing Faster than Inflation or Our Population
Government Bureaucracy is Growing Faster than Our Population

Full-time Town government staff is growing at 50% above Town population growth. From 2006 to 2017, Town staff increased by 32%. During the same time, Oakville’s population grew 21%.

Reckless and Irresponsible Spending Drains Millions of Taxpayer Dollars

Reckless spending on consultants and studies drain millions of taxpayer dollars every year. Just a few examples:

  • 4 separate studies and numerous consultants hired for the Mayor’s now shelved Cultural Hub
  • multiple studies on Oakville’s Harbours without any commitment to act
  • $200,000+ Town Hall office renovations

 

Restoring Responsible Fiscal Management to Oakville

Tax fairness is at the heart of a healthy, caring community. Thus, while the Town of Oakville provides vital services, infrastructure and programs that residents need and want, politicians have to be as careful with the town’s finances as they would be with their own. Oakville residents are already some of the most aggressively taxed in North America. That’s why, as Mayor I will initiate a review of town spending, I will work to keep Town operating spending within its existing tax revenue, and I will vote against property tax increases above the rate of inflation. I also refuse to entertain any discussion of a land transfer tax. Those are my commitments. Of course, if unanticipated circumstances occur, such as a major new investment (like the hospital) or downloading from other levels of government, I will initiate broad discussion before any exceptions are made.

 

Ban Political Spin from Tax and Spending Reports

Oakville deserves the truth in clear and understandable Town communications. As Mayor, I will introduce transparency measures to end deceptive tax bundling communications and require the Town to communicate clearly with residents. I will also introduce a clear taxpayers’ accountability report that tracks Town spending, residential property taxes and Town staff levels.

 

Implement Lean Oakville to Save Money While Maintaining & Improving Service

Lean is a methodology to both identify and then implement the most efficient, value-added way to provide government services. A proven approach, since 2009, Mississauga has saved $49 million dollars while maintaining and increasing services through their Lean initiatives. It is vital that governments at all levels find efficient ways to provide services as efficiently as possible. As Mayor, I will support the adoption of Lean or other appropriate efficiency initiatives by the Town.

Stop Uncontrolled Growth of Town Bureaucracy

The Town of Oakville staff are an amazing group of people who help make this town what it is, but government bureaucracies left unchecked will continue to grow and grow, tying up more and more tax dollars that should be spent on program delivery. That’s why as Mayor, I will task the budget committee with conducting a comprehensive review of program and staffing spending. I will propose a hiring freeze on Town staff until a comprehensive review can be completed to justify the necessity for staff growth or the implementation of a Lean program. Town staff growth will also be clearly reported in my new taxpayers’ accountability report.

 

Why are Taxpayers Spending Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars to Run Marinas that Lose Money?

Why is the Town of Oakville in the marina operation business? Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars are being spent to float two money-losing marinas. It might be understandable if there were no other alternatives, but Oakville has numerous clubs and private sector Marinas that operate at no cost to taxpayers. In fact, they pay the Town every year. As Mayor, I will support co-op, club or private sector operation of new or existing marinas. Municipal management is the last option.

Naming Rights Can Make Marquee Cultural Assets Thrive

Oakville’s arts scene is suffering. Our Town has outgrown many of its cultural buildings. Today, we don’t have the capacity to host popular shows or productions, and our arts schools and community groups often have to hold their events in other communities. On the other hand, building marquee cultural and public institutions we can be proud of is expensive. Our current Mayor has let it be known that he is opposed to naming rights that could substantially offset the taxpayer cost to build and maintain these much-needed facilities. As Mayor, I am committed to finding ways to stretch taxpayer dollars, and I will be open to offering naming rights when they make sense for our Town.

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