CERA to appear before Central Elgin municipal council May 14 to comment on 2012 budget


Central Elgin Council intends to pass by-laws to adopt the 2012 Budget on Monday, May 14, 2012. CERA will be making representation to Council on the 2012 Proposed Capital and Operating Budgets at that meeting.

Central Elgin is one of the more heavily taxed municipalities in Ontario and has one of the highest water and sewer rates. Only continued roll backs of the municipal and county tax levies will pacify ratepayers in Central Elgin. Our membership and the public are becoming increasingly more vocal about this issue.

The following are highlights of the commentary:
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Central Elgin council advised to review procedural bylaw following closed meeting review


In January of this year, the Central Elgin Ratepayers Association (CERA), filed a complaint with closed-session investigator John Maddox following a telephone conversation between Acting Mayor Tom Marks, and association secretary-treasurer Terry Campbell.
Maddox has been retained by Central Elgin, St. Thomas and Elgin county to probe complaints by anyone who believes council has sequestered itself for reasons beyond those legally prescribed under the Ontario Municipal Act.
Maddox released his summary this morning (Feb. 13) and you can read it Closed Door Meeting here

Here is the backgrounder from the Times-Journal that promted the investigation …
The issue started at the beginning of the month when CERA submitted a list of questions to Central Elgin — something Campbell said they do on a monthly basis.
“We thought it would be more efficient for us to question the municipalities on various issues through the organization,” he explained.
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Comments to Central Elgin council from ratepayers association


December 3, 2009

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors
The Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin
450 Sunset Drive
St. Thomas, ON N5R 5V1

2010 Municipal Budget

Ladies & Gentleman:

It’s a very harsh economic environment, especially for the many who have or are about to lose their jobs and for those who must live off retirement funds that have taken a severe blow in the investment markets.

The excuse of provincial downloading seems to be back. The potential loss of $500,000 from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) may be real but it’s a red herring. All municipalities will be effected by this chop of funds. It doesn’t change the fact that Central Elgin is one of the most highly taxed municipalities in Ontario. The Municipality of Central Elgin and the County of Elgin have historically done a poor job of keeping tax increases near inflation. Only a roll back of the municipal and county tax levy and costs over the next five years will placate voters in Central Elgin. Our membership and the public are becoming more vocal about this issue.
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Central Elgin Ratepayers Assoc. address to C.E. council July 20/09


Central Elgin Ratepayers Association, CERA, was formed primarily to influence the Council of the Municipality of Central Elgin to do the right thing when it comes to the local property tax burden.

Officially incorporated on May 15, 2009, in just two months CERA now has over 240 members. A recent survey of our members indicated that the Harbour negotiations with Transport Canada was our members’ second priority, after high taxes. Thank goodness, Dan McNeil saw fit to uncover many of the shenanigans in this protracted duel between Transport Canada and Central Elgin Council.

The community is in Harbour negotiation burnout. Only 70 citizens of a population of 12,500 showed up for the re-launched edition Harbour Community Workshop! It’s a sad, misleading commentary when media releases from the municipality and the consultants extol the great turnout at the first session. How can a $100,000 grant from Transport Canada, that’s trying to dump the Harbour on Central Elgin, not positively influence their agenda?
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Central Elgin Ratepayers Association adds Port Stanley harbour special advisor


Fishing tugs in Port Stanley harbour

Fishing tugs in Port Stanley harbour


Municipality of Central Elgin, Ontario, June 15, 2009 – Bruce Lemon, President of Central Elgin Ratepayers Association (CERA) has announced the appointment of Dan McNeil as Port Stanley Harbour Special Advisor to CERA .

“We’re very pleased that Dan McNeil has agreed to advise CERA on issues that pertain to the on-going negotiations by the Municipality of Central Elgin to acquire the Port Stanley Harbour from the Federal Government.” ,said Mr. Lemon. “Mr. McNeil has been instrumental in lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding these negotiations and explaining how the Federal bureaucracy deals in these matters.”
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CERA president blasts Central Elgin council for out of control spending


Municipality of Central Elgin, Ontario, June 08, 2009 – At the Central Elgin Council Meeting tonight, Bruce Lemon, President of Central Elgin Ratepayers Association (CERA) blasted the Municipal Council for out of control spending, lack of transparency and one of the highest lower-tier property tax rates in Ontario.

“Reasons for incorporating the villages of Belmont, Port Stanley & the Township of Yarmouth into the Municipality of Central Elgin were to maximize operating efficiencies as well as minimize duplication with the goal of reducing costs. The results to date have been a total failure with property taxes having at least doubled, water rates have at least tripled and staffing levels have increased dramatically while the municipality has only realized a very small population growth rate.” , said Bruce Lemon.
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New Association to Monitor Municipal and County Government


Municipality of Central Elgin, Ontario, May 12, 2009 – Dismayed by a lack of transparency from municipal government, ineffectiveness in controlling costs at the municipal and county levels, and the risks of assuming the Port Stanley Harbour, a group of local citizens has formed the Central Elgin Ratepayers Association.

“The Municipality of Central Elgin has one of the highest property tax rates and water charges in Ontario” said Bruce Lemon, President. “To continually base new annual budgets on budgets from prior years rather than actual expenditures is a formula for excessive taxation.”

“We’re particularly concerned about plans to acquire the Port Stanley Harbour” Helen Garton, Vice President of the Association advised. “The acquisition will result in excessive taxes to the community if a proper long-term business plan isn’t finalized before acquisition.”
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