Election 2018: Fact Checking For Ward 5

Most candidates want the best for the people they’re vying to represent, but I personally believe delivering disinformation on the campaign trail puts residents behind personal ambitions. I wanted to provide some fact checking for issues we’ve heard about and read about at the doors.

Taxes have gone up 5% (or higher) per year

Oakville’s taxes have remained in line with the rate of inflation, and trending lower. Between 2009 and 2018, the overall tax increase – which includes town, region, and education budgets – averaged 2%. The Toronto CPI or Consumer Price Index averaged 1.89% annually from 2008 to 2017.  During this term of council overall tax increases have averaged 0.24% less than Toronto CPI.

These tax increases were lower, more stable and predictable, and trending down compared to the previous 10-year period.

And Oakville has the lowest overall tax increase for the entire term of council when compared to neighbouring municipalities. All of this is while ensuring that Oakville residents get the services they expect and need.

Tax payer debt has gone up

Tax payer debt has gone down – and not just a little. It’s down a whopping 88%, from $24 million in 2006 to a projected $2.9 million at the end of this year. Tax payer debt items are things that your taxes pay for directly. Not all debt is carried this way; for example, the hospital debt is paid for by Oakville Enterprises, and Development Charge debt is paid for by development charges collected from developers.

On the subject of debt, Oakville contributes to Halton Region’s credit rating – AAA – the absolute best possible. Financially, Oakville is in outstanding shape, and continuing to improve. Moody’s does not give such high ratings when debt is out of control as has been alleged.

Oakville ranks at the top of the list when measuring municipal fiscal health. University of Toronto Professor Enid Slack’s 2015 book, Is Your City Healthy? Measuring Urban Fiscal Health, looks at elements of fiscal health for cities.

The book lists Oakville as the municipality in Ontario with the highest fiscal health. The findings that led Slack to rank Oakville as number one included debt-to-tax ratios, low-tax arrears, revenue raising capacity, estimates of the fiscal gap and other financial factors.

Oakville bought a Taco Bell

This one is a bit amusing – as much as I love tacos, the town isn’t in the business of buying shuttered fast food franchises. This property is not merely a Taco Bell, it is a large 1.7 acre piece of prime land located at Trafalgar and Cross Avenues, and we are always looking for opportunities to improve life for Oakville residents, businesses, and visitors.

The land was not purchased to build a new civic centre, the purchase was made to make it possible to widen lanes and improve traffic conditions near the Oakville GO Station. It’s a smart investment, as land in Oakville has never decreased in value, and making it easier for residents to access the GO Station and Oakville Transit are goals we can all agree upon.

Are you hearing other questionable bits of information? Feel free to reach out to me and #TeamKnoll to get facts checked!