Bill Crumplin, mayoral candidate:
“In conversations with some seniors and people on (Ontario Disability Support Program) during the last several weeks, I have learned that some people on fixed incomes have a great deal of difficulty dealing with increases in the cost of living. While there is not much a mayor or any councillor can do about the cost of gasoline, food or other services, I feel that our city can do something about future property tax increases for low fixed-income individuals.
“In researching what other cities have done, I have come across a great initiative offered by Barrie. It is relatively simple and, I feel, would make a meaningful difference to seniors and people on ODSP who own their homes. I have learned that increases to property taxes are one reason that some people on low fixed-incomes are forced to consider leaving their homes. Seniors that I have spoken with stress the anxiety that they feel when having to consider selling their homes to move.
“I have come across a possible solution that targets property taxes. It is a system that would allow a homeowner to defer property tax increases using the equity in her/his home.
“In short, a senior or ODSP person on low fixed-income could apply annually to the city to be considered for the program. Once approved, the applicant’s property tax increases would be deferred until the home was sold or the deed was transferred when the deferred amount would become payable to the city.
“This would allow qualifying persons to offset future annual municipal tax increases and remain in their homes using some of the equity they have built up. It would also be fair to every other taxpayer as the taxes would merely be deferred and not forgiven.
“I feel this program would be a great benefit for qualified persons and I would champion it through council as mayor.”