Commercial taxpayers could pick up more tax burden

In this Nov. 23, 2015, file photo, Coun. Denis Carr listens during a Cornwall city council meeting. Carr is the chairman of the 2017 budget committee. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The city’s budget committee is looking at having commercial ratepayers shoulder more of the financial burden of a potential tax increase this year (2017).

During a budget committee meeting Wednesday night, the group of councillors looked at adjusting the ratios for calculating taxes, also known as the mill rate.

Under the proposal, the commercial rate would go up to 1.98 from 1.94 – in order words $1,980 in taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value, up from $1,940.

Right now, the budget has a projected 4.18 per cent tax increase for the residential taxpayer or an extra $94 this year on an average home assessed at $162,000.

The budget committee is striving to get that increase down to 2.5 per cent.

Part of the plan to get down to that number would be Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy’s suggestion of moving a half million dollars from the water and sewer budget reserves to the main budget to cover the cost of reconstructing Lemay Street.

But not everybody on the committee is warm to the idea.

Two things did get chopped out of the budget Wednesday – a $65,000 salary for a new Information Technology (IT) position and $17,500 for a drone for the Cornwall Fire Department.