Opinion

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wizard-regBy Joan Albright

This the second part of a response to J.R. Hunt's letter in the Owen Sound Sun Times, September 24, 2014

Always ready with its magic, the Magician allowed new creative ways for the Creatures to fund their costs, one of which is the popular "user fee." If you use it, then you will pay for it - over and above what you were already paying for it in your property taxes. It's magical.

Turkey-regBy Francesca Dobbyn

A reminder about proxy voting, so the students home for Thanksgiving can vote!

It's Thanksgiving weekend, time to meet and eat with family and friends. A chance to catch up, sit and talk and mull over life, the changing seasons and the election.

Here is an opportunity to encourage students who are away to vote. As a parent of a former college students, I always emphasized that no matter where you are, your voice matters. Elections Canada does put things in place for students, and for municipal elections, proxy voting is the way to go.

Warren-2-regBy Michael Warren

Every candidate in this election should be asked this question:

"How will you help stop the debilitating cycle of higher taxes and fees, followed by cuts in service, followed by higher taxes and fees?"

Last week I outlined prime areas for driving the city's expenses down. Controlling costs is important. But the long-term solution lies in growing the assessment base upon which the city raises most of its tax revenues.

castle-regBy Joan Albright

In response to J.R. Hunt's letter in the Owen Sound Sun Times on September 24, 2014, I feel we should take a long look at the root causes for the current level of local property taxation. So as not to bore anyone to tears, a whimsical look at the situation seems appropriate. This is part one of a three-part story.

Once upon a time, in the magical land called Ontario, run by the "Magician," 832 creatures of Ontario aka: townships, villages, towns, cities and counties, lived happy, relatively autonomous lives. But revenues for the creatures' local services were always hard to raise, especially in townships mainly comprised of farmland.

Warren-regBy Michael Warren

There's one overarching issue facing the city of Owen Sound in the years ahead. Every candidate for council should be required to answer this question:

"How will you help stop the debilitating cycle of higher taxes and fees, followed by cuts in service, followed by higher taxes and fees?"

This is the first of two columns. It lays out the city's daunting financial picture and identifies opportunities for future cost containment. Next week, the focus will be on ways the next council can grow the city's assessment base; the long-term answer to financial self- sufficiency.

Owen Sound, like many other municipalities, faces a serious financial challenge. Some of our fiscal issues are shared by other cities. Some are uniquely ours.

Here are some financial facts that the next council has to deal with:

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