Publisher’s Rant: In Which the Publisher Becomes Apoplectically Angry Because Municipal Taxes Are Too Low

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The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula has, by far, the lowest tax rate in Bruce County.

If you are a cottager or a land speculator, you probably think this is wonderful. You aren’t using much in the way of services and see no reason to pay for more of them.

But for those of us who live here year round, those low taxes have implications. Unpaved roads. Decrepit bridges. Very few sidewalks except in Lion’s Head. No bike lanes anywhere. Limited — and deteriorating — public facilities. I could go on… In fact, maybe I will.

MNBP’s proposed budget calls for a 4.93% increase overall, including a 1.77% increase in the mill rate.

At the Feb 19 MNBP Budget Meeting, you could feel the tension in the room as the Councillors realized how many indignant phone calls they will get from people who feel taxes are already too high and that any increase in the mill rate is an outrage.

Thought experiment: imagine a Councillor getting an angry phone call from someone who thinks taxes aren’t high enough.

So: Councillors — please imagine this is an angry phone call from a taxpayer. Or better yet, a confrontation in Hellyer’s or Peacock’s while you’re just quietly going about your business. My face is purple, there’s spit flying from my lips and I’m jabbing your chest with a forefinger to emphasize my points.

That new budget is a #&*%#@ outrage! Nothing’s gonna get any better.

I can’t bicycle from Ferndale to Lion’s Head without taking my life in my hands. Ferndale to Stokes Bay is even worse. Where are the pedestrian and bike lanes?

How’m I supposed to walk or cycle from Tobermory to Big Tub Light or Big Tub Resort? It’s dangerous! And you didn’t lift a #&*%#@ finger to fix it!

And the Rotary Hall in Lion’s Head.  Every time there’s a public meeting they have to turn people away. And no place to put coats and everybody standing around squirming because there aren’t enough toilets. You need to #&*%#@ fix this!

Where am I supposed to take my family out on the water? There’s a two-generation waiting list for a spot at Tobermory Harbour and no place else to keep my #&*%#@ boat without driving to Lion’s Head every time.

And no decent place on the west coast to launch my boat or canoe and go out for a picnic! We need facilities! Boat launches! Rental slips! With proper washrooms, not just #&*%#@ porta-potties! Keep the tourists away with really expensive parking but free for locals with a pass. 

And the arena! Jeez, Louise, have you ever been in those dressing rooms? Ever tried to cook a community dinner in that kitchen? Ever tried to understand what they’re saying on the public address system? These improvements have been in the Recreation Plan for seven years! Why aren’t they in the #&*%#@ budget?

And the community centre in Tobermory. The water system goes dry every time we go two weeks without rain. Same for the fire hall and the ambulance station. And up the road, the National Park keeps running out of water and directing everybody to the porta-potties. Where’s the budget for upgrading Tobermory’s water system?

And the street parking in Tobermory! It’s dangerous with two-way traffic plus parked cars plus pedestrians, all on a roadway nineteen feet wide! With blind hills no less! Is there anything in that #&*%#@ budget to fix that? I want to be able to walk and bike around the village! Safely! We need pedestrian and bike lanes! We need a big peripheral parking lot with proper washrooms so tourists don’t park on the street and #&*%#@ on my hedge!

And don’t get me started about Moore Street in Lion’s Head!

You can’t offer decent services on a chicken#&*% budget. We need to have proper tax rates, like everybody else in Bruce County! Fix it! 

At this point, I stop stabbing you with my finger, pull my handkerchief out of my pocket and wipe the spit off my chin. Then I stalk off to buy some bananas, still quivering with rage.

I think there are a lot of people in MNBP who would quite happily pay higher taxes to get better services. We just tend to be quiet about it.