City of Dauphin bucks trend with property-tax cut

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IN a year in which it became acceptable for municipalities to raise property taxes again, the City of Dauphin did the unthinkable.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/07/2012 (3800 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IN a year in which it became acceptable for municipalities to raise property taxes again, the City of Dauphin did the unthinkable.

No, it didn’t take advantage and send taxes through the roof. Nor did it freeze taxes. It cut them. Dauphin city council recently announced a 5.38 per cent cut in property taxes. That’s after a tax freeze the previous year.

“I’m not a real ‘taxes down guy’ one way or another. It’s just civic services have to be run as efficiently as possible,” said Dauphin Mayor Eric Irwin.

Dauphin got its taxes down by cutting two supervisory jobs and implementing the mechanical garbage pickup that’s being started in Winnipeg. As well, a 15-year debenture on its swimming pool matured.

Also, demands for double-digit budget increases from Dauphin Recreation Services ended once a civic finance manager was appointed to the board.

Dauphin’s taxes had trended higher under previous councils and the city had to lower them to be competitive with other communities, Irwin added.

It was a contentious year for municipal taxes across Manitoba. Winnipeg raised its property taxes for the first time in 14 years. In Brandon, Mayor Shari Decter Hirst initially tried to raise taxes 20 per cent. Folks launched a mini-Brandon tea party revolt. The tax increase eventually came down to the single-digit level.

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DUNNOTTAR: The referendum question for the July 20 vote for the Village of Dunnottar is as follows:

“Do you support the installation of a low-pressure sewer system as proposed by the Village of Dunnottar Borrowing By-Law 891/12?”

Critics — a group called Dunnottar Ratepayers Association — say the sewer system costs too much and amounts to seasonal cottagers overpaying for a system that mainly benefits year-round residents. The association also says pipes will freeze in winter because the system will have too few users after cottagers — the majority of Dunnottar residents — leave for the winter.

Supporters — a group called Friends of the Village and Community — say approval of the low-pressure system would enable residents to secure $2.4 million in provincial grant money towards the total $10.2-million cost. A low-pressure sewer system will also increase property values.

The sewer system will cost homeowners $600 per year over 20 years. But sewer-system supporters maintain the cost of the village’s septic pump-out system will exceed those payments in 20 years, and would continue after the septic system is paid off.

— — —

ELMA’S CHANTEUSE: Belated condolences to family and friends of singer Christine Schuhmann of Elma, who has joined “the choir of angels,” as her husband, Hermann Schuhmann, phrased it.

Christine, 55, died on May 19. She was profiled in the Free Press last September. Just days before Christmas, Christine was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Christine, who immigrated to Canada from Switzerland with her parents, could sing in eight languages. She wowed crowds with her ability to yodel in the traditional Swiss Alps style. Her singing had achieved international success.

There may not have been a sweeter and more mutually supportive couple than Herman and Christine. The funeral chapel in Beausejour was overflowing with mourners.

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

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