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:

Scots-regBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

EDINBURGH - As we walk, we can feel the streets literally vibrating with anticipation. This morning at 7 a.m. the polls opened for the estimated four million registered voters to put their X beside YES or NO in the clearest of questions: Should Scotland be an independent country? By breakfast time on Friday, Scots will know what they and their neighbours have decided.

md-BCK-regIt's time Miranda Miller got some satisfaction.

Not later this month. Not eventually, after further study and deliberation. But right away. Send in a crew with weed whackers or scythes, gravel or dirt. And get the BCK lot cleaned up.

Gillespie-regBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

My name is Bobby. Mr. Gillespie was my father." This was my introduction to the rookie candidate for Owen Sound city councillor.

Bobby's father is not insignificant to his story. Born and raised in Owen Sound, Bobby returned to the city after university thinking he wanted a career in radio. His father had just built an office supply business, and he needed some help. "He asked me to work in the business for just one year," Bobby remembers. "After that, I could do whatever I liked. Taking him up on that offer was the best decision I ever made."


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