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Posts Tagged ‘Taxes’

Smiths Fals tax collection policy under review

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 @ 10:06 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts

The town is currently owed more than $2million in tax arrears. Since a deficit that large affects the town’s budget negatively, city staff is recommending a new tax collection policy.

“This is about how to deal with arrears. We have a process but it doesn’t have any teeth until it goes to the tax sale process,” explained Director of Corporate Services, Kerry Costello.

The aim of the new policy is to give the town more options to enforce tax payment and reduce arrears.

A draft of the policy was submitted to council and changes are suggested for virtually every aspect of the current collection method. 

New recommendations regarding billing due dates and payments, as well as penalties are being made. New late payment charges are also being considered as are collection methods.

“We are trying to give the tax collector some options to collect taxes and will be looking for a by-law to adopt the new policy,” said Costello.

The new policy will be submitted for council approval at the next scheduled council meeting.

Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 12:04 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

The regular Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 25 and the final draft budget was a topic on the table. Even though the budget recommends a tax increase there was general agreement among council that this year’s increase was necessary to get the town back on track with capital projects that have been long deferred.

The town’s total budget as presented in the draft, shows operational expenditures of $22,947,807, revenues of $24,673,576 and a transfer to reserve of $1,726,769.

Tax increases

A four percent tax hike has been approved by the committee of the whole. The jump reflects a 0.5 percent increase in town taxes (formerly known as the mill rate) plus the 3.5 percent phased in assessment increase. The town portion of that increase (0.5 percent) will cost the average household that is assessed at $163,000 in 2016 an additional $12.90 per year. While the 3.5 percent MPAC assessment increase will add another $77.46 annually.

The tax increase will allow the town to transfer 1.7 million into reserves towards capital projects. “This budget reflects a departure from the way we did things before,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris. “We’re directing monies into reserves because it’s clear we have an infrastructure backlog, and the only way to deal with it is to put money away to apply to it.”

While council members were in agreement there was some discomfort around the horseshoe.

“I have some concerns about affordability of these increases,” said Jay Brennan, councillor. “Do we need to put 1.7 million into reserve all in one year?” asked Joe Gallipeau, councillor.

“So much work has been deferred this far that we’re going to have to catch up. What has to be done now is the most critical work,” said Shawn Pankow, mayor.

Water rate increase
Also starting June 2016 water users in town will see a 7.9 percent increase in their water/wastewater rates, which means an additional $14.46 per bi-monthly billing on average annual consumption of 200 cubic meters.

“If our goal was for cost recovery for the just the water and wastewater plants, we would be there now, but our goal is total cost recovery including delivery and collection, and we’re not there yet,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The town has also started to migrate stormwater costs out of water rates as recommended by the Asset Management Plan consultants.

Budget savings
As directed by council, staff managed to slash nearly $700,000 from the town’s operational budget, a drop of 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The police budget also came lower again this year, with a surplus of $193,000 from 2015. Overall policing now costs the town 30 percent of total budget down from nearly 40 percent in previous years.

“In this fiscal environment, we are doing our part in being sustainable,” said Bob Dowdall, chief of Smiths Falls Police.

The town’s budget report is available online at the town’s website under council minutes and agendas.
The budget will now come forward for first reading at the regular council meeting on May 2nd.

Photo: Presenting the final draft budget to council, CAO Malcolm Morris pointed out that staff had managed to cut nearly $700,000 from the operational budget, through a series of small reductions that added up.

Bennett: What the federal budget means for you

Sunday, April 24, 2016 @ 08:04 AM
posted by admin

Submitted by Steve Bennett of H&R Block

With a majority government, it’s no surprise that the new Liberal government is rolling out many of the expected changes that they promised during the long election campaign. There are many changes and updates in the budget, so let’s take a look at some of the biggest.

Elimination of the Family Tax Cut

This is officially the last year of the Family Tax Cut. This income-splitting measure will have lasted for only two years and was eliminated in favour of the previously announced income tax rate reduction from 22% to 20.5% for the second federal tax bracket.

Elimination of the Children’s Fitness and Arts Credits

These credits will be phased out over the next two years. In 2016, the fitness tax credit and arts credit will be reduced by 50% to $500 and $250, respectively. In 2017, the two credits will be eliminated altogether.

Introduction of the Canada Child Benefit

One of the key planks of the Liberal platform was the restructuring of benefits for families. As promised, the government has eliminated the Universal Child Care Benefit and Canada Child Tax Benefit, replacing them with the new Canada Child Benefit.

The Canada Child Benefit will be based on family net income and will be completely non-taxable. The maximum benefit is $533.33 per month for children under six, and $450 per month for children ages six to 17.

Families with net income below $30,000 will receive the full benefit, while families who earn more will be subject to different phase-out rates based on their income and number of children. With the Canada Child Benefit, the vast majority of families should see enhanced benefits.

Teacher and Early Educator School Supply Tax Credit

This 15% refundable tax credit will allow eligible educators to claim up to $1,000 of teachers’ supplies. Examples of eligible expenses include art supplies, stationery items and materials for science experiments. Teachers will qualify if they hold a teacher’s certificate valid in the province or territory they are employed. Early childhood educators will qualify as long as they hold a certificate or diploma in early childhood education.

Elimination of the Education and Textbook Amounts

For the 2017 tax year, the federal education and textbook amounts will be eliminated, though the credit for tuition will remain in effect. Revenue gained from this credit elimination will be used to enhance the Canada Student Grant Program.

Any unused education and textbook credit carry-forward from prior years will remain available to use in 2017 and subsequent years.

Cancellation of the age increase for Old Age Security (OAS) eligibility

The previous government had implemented legislation to raise the age at which Canadians can begin receiving OAS. It was scheduled to phase-in beginning in 2023. As promised in the platform, this will be cancelled.

This article provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore, no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this bulletin can be accepted by Steve Bennett or H&R Block Canada, Inc.

Asset Management Report raises concerns

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 @ 09:04 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

Presenting the report’s finding to the Committee of the Whole during the April 11 meeting were delegates from the three consulting firms that had worked with town staff in compiling the report and its recommendations.

“Phase I of the report, which included roads and wastewater infrastructure was completed a couple of years ago, so the scope of this phase II was to bring all the remaining assets into the plan,” said Dan Wilson from Watson and Associates.

The presentation covered the methodology, philosophy and assumptions that informed the completed plan.

“The process has been revealing in that we now have a comprehensive understanding of our assets and a solid strategy to manage it,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The comprehensive plan and detailed report includes, level of service and risk/criticality assessment for each of the town’s assets along with an asset management plan over a 20 year forecast horizon.

Not surprisingly the strategy calls for increases in the mill rate portion of property taxes over and above the assessment increases as well as water and wastewater rate increases over the foreseeable future.  The recommendation is for a 4.03 per cent increase in the tax rate, 8.5 per cent increase in the water rate and 9 per cent increase in the sewage rate.

“To put it in perspective these increases would average out to $7.20 per month for water and wastewater and represent a $104 per year increase in taxes,” clarified Janet Kozeil, Smiths Falls interim treasurer.

A heated discussion ensued with half the councillors dead set against tax increases and half acknowledging that the asset management plan makes sense however painful it might be.

In the end the committee chose to receive the report rather than to accept it, which they felt would be tantamount to accepting the recommended tax increases.  They did however accept the recommendation to roll budget surpluses into reserve ahead of the budget discussion at the end of the month.

The town’s asset management plan is complete and the full report is available online at the town’s website.

Photo: Representatives from three consulting firms retained for the job were on hand to present the newly released comprehensive Asset Management Plan to the Committee of the Whole on April 11. From Left: Arunas Kalinauskas, asset management specialist with R.J. Burnside and Associates; Dan Wilson, directow with Watson & Associates economists, Troy Dunlop, Smiths Falls director of Public Works and Utilities; and Max Christie, with XIE Environmental.

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Posts Tagged ‘Taxes’

Smiths Fals tax collection policy under review

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 @ 10:06 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts

The town is currently owed more than $2million in tax arrears. Since a deficit that large affects the town’s budget negatively, city staff is recommending a new tax collection policy.

“This is about how to deal with arrears. We have a process but it doesn’t have any teeth until it goes to the tax sale process,” explained Director of Corporate Services, Kerry Costello.

The aim of the new policy is to give the town more options to enforce tax payment and reduce arrears.

A draft of the policy was submitted to council and changes are suggested for virtually every aspect of the current collection method. 

New recommendations regarding billing due dates and payments, as well as penalties are being made. New late payment charges are also being considered as are collection methods.

“We are trying to give the tax collector some options to collect taxes and will be looking for a by-law to adopt the new policy,” said Costello.

The new policy will be submitted for council approval at the next scheduled council meeting.

Town budget expected to bring tax increase to residents

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 12:04 PM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

The regular Smiths Falls Committee of the Whole meeting held on April 25 and the final draft budget was a topic on the table. Even though the budget recommends a tax increase there was general agreement among council that this year’s increase was necessary to get the town back on track with capital projects that have been long deferred.

The town’s total budget as presented in the draft, shows operational expenditures of $22,947,807, revenues of $24,673,576 and a transfer to reserve of $1,726,769.

Tax increases

A four percent tax hike has been approved by the committee of the whole. The jump reflects a 0.5 percent increase in town taxes (formerly known as the mill rate) plus the 3.5 percent phased in assessment increase. The town portion of that increase (0.5 percent) will cost the average household that is assessed at $163,000 in 2016 an additional $12.90 per year. While the 3.5 percent MPAC assessment increase will add another $77.46 annually.

The tax increase will allow the town to transfer 1.7 million into reserves towards capital projects. “This budget reflects a departure from the way we did things before,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris. “We’re directing monies into reserves because it’s clear we have an infrastructure backlog, and the only way to deal with it is to put money away to apply to it.”

While council members were in agreement there was some discomfort around the horseshoe.

“I have some concerns about affordability of these increases,” said Jay Brennan, councillor. “Do we need to put 1.7 million into reserve all in one year?” asked Joe Gallipeau, councillor.

“So much work has been deferred this far that we’re going to have to catch up. What has to be done now is the most critical work,” said Shawn Pankow, mayor.

Water rate increase
Also starting June 2016 water users in town will see a 7.9 percent increase in their water/wastewater rates, which means an additional $14.46 per bi-monthly billing on average annual consumption of 200 cubic meters.

“If our goal was for cost recovery for the just the water and wastewater plants, we would be there now, but our goal is total cost recovery including delivery and collection, and we’re not there yet,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The town has also started to migrate stormwater costs out of water rates as recommended by the Asset Management Plan consultants.

Budget savings
As directed by council, staff managed to slash nearly $700,000 from the town’s operational budget, a drop of 1.7 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The police budget also came lower again this year, with a surplus of $193,000 from 2015. Overall policing now costs the town 30 percent of total budget down from nearly 40 percent in previous years.

“In this fiscal environment, we are doing our part in being sustainable,” said Bob Dowdall, chief of Smiths Falls Police.

The town’s budget report is available online at the town’s website under council minutes and agendas.
The budget will now come forward for first reading at the regular council meeting on May 2nd.

Photo: Presenting the final draft budget to council, CAO Malcolm Morris pointed out that staff had managed to cut nearly $700,000 from the operational budget, through a series of small reductions that added up.

Bennett: What the federal budget means for you

Sunday, April 24, 2016 @ 08:04 AM
posted by admin

Submitted by Steve Bennett of H&R Block

With a majority government, it’s no surprise that the new Liberal government is rolling out many of the expected changes that they promised during the long election campaign. There are many changes and updates in the budget, so let’s take a look at some of the biggest.

Elimination of the Family Tax Cut

This is officially the last year of the Family Tax Cut. This income-splitting measure will have lasted for only two years and was eliminated in favour of the previously announced income tax rate reduction from 22% to 20.5% for the second federal tax bracket.

Elimination of the Children’s Fitness and Arts Credits

These credits will be phased out over the next two years. In 2016, the fitness tax credit and arts credit will be reduced by 50% to $500 and $250, respectively. In 2017, the two credits will be eliminated altogether.

Introduction of the Canada Child Benefit

One of the key planks of the Liberal platform was the restructuring of benefits for families. As promised, the government has eliminated the Universal Child Care Benefit and Canada Child Tax Benefit, replacing them with the new Canada Child Benefit.

The Canada Child Benefit will be based on family net income and will be completely non-taxable. The maximum benefit is $533.33 per month for children under six, and $450 per month for children ages six to 17.

Families with net income below $30,000 will receive the full benefit, while families who earn more will be subject to different phase-out rates based on their income and number of children. With the Canada Child Benefit, the vast majority of families should see enhanced benefits.

Teacher and Early Educator School Supply Tax Credit

This 15% refundable tax credit will allow eligible educators to claim up to $1,000 of teachers’ supplies. Examples of eligible expenses include art supplies, stationery items and materials for science experiments. Teachers will qualify if they hold a teacher’s certificate valid in the province or territory they are employed. Early childhood educators will qualify as long as they hold a certificate or diploma in early childhood education.

Elimination of the Education and Textbook Amounts

For the 2017 tax year, the federal education and textbook amounts will be eliminated, though the credit for tuition will remain in effect. Revenue gained from this credit elimination will be used to enhance the Canada Student Grant Program.

Any unused education and textbook credit carry-forward from prior years will remain available to use in 2017 and subsequent years.

Cancellation of the age increase for Old Age Security (OAS) eligibility

The previous government had implemented legislation to raise the age at which Canadians can begin receiving OAS. It was scheduled to phase-in beginning in 2023. As promised in the platform, this will be cancelled.

This article provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore, no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this bulletin can be accepted by Steve Bennett or H&R Block Canada, Inc.

Asset Management Report raises concerns

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 @ 09:04 AM
posted by April Scott-Clarke

By Howaida Sorour-Roberts – Smiths Falls

Presenting the report’s finding to the Committee of the Whole during the April 11 meeting were delegates from the three consulting firms that had worked with town staff in compiling the report and its recommendations.

“Phase I of the report, which included roads and wastewater infrastructure was completed a couple of years ago, so the scope of this phase II was to bring all the remaining assets into the plan,” said Dan Wilson from Watson and Associates.

The presentation covered the methodology, philosophy and assumptions that informed the completed plan.

“The process has been revealing in that we now have a comprehensive understanding of our assets and a solid strategy to manage it,” said Smiths Falls CAO Malcolm Morris.

The comprehensive plan and detailed report includes, level of service and risk/criticality assessment for each of the town’s assets along with an asset management plan over a 20 year forecast horizon.

Not surprisingly the strategy calls for increases in the mill rate portion of property taxes over and above the assessment increases as well as water and wastewater rate increases over the foreseeable future.  The recommendation is for a 4.03 per cent increase in the tax rate, 8.5 per cent increase in the water rate and 9 per cent increase in the sewage rate.

“To put it in perspective these increases would average out to $7.20 per month for water and wastewater and represent a $104 per year increase in taxes,” clarified Janet Kozeil, Smiths Falls interim treasurer.

A heated discussion ensued with half the councillors dead set against tax increases and half acknowledging that the asset management plan makes sense however painful it might be.

In the end the committee chose to receive the report rather than to accept it, which they felt would be tantamount to accepting the recommended tax increases.  They did however accept the recommendation to roll budget surpluses into reserve ahead of the budget discussion at the end of the month.

The town’s asset management plan is complete and the full report is available online at the town’s website.

Photo: Representatives from three consulting firms retained for the job were on hand to present the newly released comprehensive Asset Management Plan to the Committee of the Whole on April 11. From Left: Arunas Kalinauskas, asset management specialist with R.J. Burnside and Associates; Dan Wilson, directow with Watson & Associates economists, Troy Dunlop, Smiths Falls director of Public Works and Utilities; and Max Christie, with XIE Environmental.

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