Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thumbs up and thumbs down

I would support a Council decision for tax deferral program for low income seniors (SP Dec. 6/11.) It could make a difference for these seniors as to whether they can both eat and buy their medications. I will happily pay an additional $.50 on my tax bill to help in this regard. However, since taxpayers will be supporting this cause with the $.50 levy, I would not expect the city to be charging usury interest rates on the deferred taxes. Thumb's up on this idea.

Thumb's down on the closure of paddling pools. In the grand scope of this budget, $25,000 is peanuts. Council finds money to keep the Shaw Pool open, a facility that most can't afford use to use or get to, but takes away a kiddie paddling pools. Even if only a few use them, its a few less kids wandering the streets looking for something to do. And I would have thought that with the Premier's announcement during the election campaign that the school start date would be after the Labour Day weekend that the city would have looked at extending the paddling pool days of operation.

If its $.50 a household to finance the seniors' tax deferral program, then add another $.50 cents for the paddling pools for kids.


  1. Did Council mention other concessions for low income home owners, like students?

    Not sure why seniors are singled out as only ones needing tax relief, especially when they keep increasing how much is due.

    Charge interest and let anyone opt in.

  2. I'm sorry did I read that right now that the mistress is almost a senior she wants a $.50 levy on other peoples property tax to help her make ends meet! She must be a little short for her Meds this month (LOL). I do however agree about the Paddling Pools, since many if not all were donated by Kinsmen Clubs maybe their foundation would pick up the operating slack to keep them open in the areas that need them most

  3. Anon 10:00 -Alas I do not quality for the low income deferral and currently I am not on meds - although I may be soon if I keep following Council and this blog!

  4. Great solution Anon, let's just let someone else pick up the tab.

    Hey Shaw helped subsidize the new pool, why not cut off funding and back them into a corner so they can pick up the tab on operating cost shortfall.

    Why stop there? Let's stop funding the art galleries too, then the Mendel or Remai families can battle it out to see who picks up funding costs.

    The Credit Union Centre? Owned by the city, but with someone else's name on the building. Stopping covering the shortfall out there and get the Credit Union to cover it (hey maybe they'll even pay for roadwork needed out there that is greatly overdue.

    The new police station? I think the 'Tim Hortons Station' would be quite appropriate.

    Terrific idea to let private companies handle the duty of the city. That way the city can continue ignoring it's fundamental responsibilities and continue on focusing on areas that are not within their scope, like housing.

    Anon 10:00: you must be off your meds too this month. It amazes me the stupidity of some of this city's residents.

  5. anon10:22
    By the sounds of it you would clearly know the symtoms of being "off my meds". I was not making a blanket statement about all gifters to the city, merely suggesting the Kinsmen MIGHT be interested in keeping some inner city pools open because of their close connection to childrens needs in our city like Kinsmen park and the new plan for it. I certainly don't want to disagree with you though so you are probably right it's a bad idea.

  6. Anon 10:00,

    Thank you for coming to your senses (and presumably starting to take your meds again). It was a bad idea and I'm glad you don't want to disagree with me.

    Such an idea would only serve to reinforce the problematic habit of this Council to look to outside sources for paying for their whims and desires (see charging residents for recycling rather than through property taxes). If we want to reduce the government's level of involvement and start relying on the private sector to provide what we desire then let's go all in on that.

    Glad you've finally seen the light. Please stay on your meds in the future.

    Anon 10:22

  7. As someone with a parent in that low income bracket living in her home and paying property taxes isn't the biggest worry. Sure any tax relief would be welcomed but, here we go again, either I help her out on my own if she needs it or I end up helping out someon else's parents. As this tax deferral is a tax increase to the rest of the citizens. Again another social program that is should be Province's roll and this council appears to be willing to take on. Maybe if they looked at decreasing the overall property tax rate instead of adding things such as a new recycling fee, it wouldn't be as big a burden.

    As to the article itself interesting that they would limit it to seniors, guess they figure they wont last long anyways so what the hell give em a couple of years tax break. We already do it for every new major company or theater group that is in the city. The comment that someone aged 21, if allowed to participate, could defer the tax for 40 years shows how ill conceived this idea is. What 21 year old low-income earner owns their own home??

    As for the paddling pools it may be more of a security issue than the overall costs. After last years assaults, I suspect the union/OH&S will be requiring security guards or additional persons working, so no-one is their alone. Thus driving up costs which would add what maybe 1 ten of 1% to our already 4.5% rate increase.

    This Council has been out of touch for some years now and it is ideas like closing pools that will be the ones the average citizen reacts too.

  8. "What 21 year old low-income earner owns their own home??"

    It is actually becoming more and more popular for students to take a student loan for down payment or to pool resources with another student.

    Furthermore, even people qualifying for starter homes are living on as tight a budget as most fixed income seniors.

    Combine this program with the city program where they give you an unsecured loan for you down payment and you could buy a house for no money down an defer the taxes until you sell/die.

    I hope this bylaw gets challenged in court over charter discrimination. Why should seniors be any different than a single mother struggling to make ends meet to stay in her house. Why does council hate single moms?

  9. Correct me if I am wrong, but the deferral is only on the property tax increase amount, not the full property tax bill.

  10. So this is even stupider then, we are talking about them deferring the increased amount only?

    So does that mean their property taxes are frozen at the current levels until they pass away? Even if that happens to be in 20 years?

    That's like a $70 a year break and is a big enough difference to significantly affect the bottom line of the budget.

    My god they need to get their heads on straight at city hall.

  11. Here's where the damage is done. Property taxes were never suppose to be about making it easier for others to live in the city. They are to be used to provide services at an equal level for all. A tax deferral system is an enabler to those that should be looking at other avenues for support. As I see it it isn't those that own their homes in Saskatoon that are having the biggest problems. Interest rates are at rock bottom meaning mortgage payments are next to nil. It is those that are in the rental market that are feeling the pinch as that market is driven solely by supply and demand and in today's economy in Saskatchewan there is way more demand than supply. So I like the idea of providing more land for apartments and such however providing any rebates or grants from a city perspective doesn't automatically mean they are passed onto the final user. The Province making it a year before rent increases can take affect will only again defer the problem.

    So what is the answer. If it was as easy as 1,2,3 what would we have to complain about.


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