Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday July 4 2015
11:21 AM EDT
2014-01-17 at 17:12

Chamber to city: Get serious about spending control

By tbnewswatch.com

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is issuing a challenge to to city hall to get serious about controlling spending.

The chamber held a news conference Friday to release a report prepared by the business department at Lakehead University that claims Thunder Bay ranks last among eight similar cities when it comes to getting bang for the taxpayers' buck

According to the200-page report, the operating costs for Thunder Bay city hall are higher than the average in 20 of 27 categories compared to other Ontario and Northern cities.

It also says property taxes are among the highest in Ontario.

City manager Tim Commisso says the city can always improve but comparisons don't take into account Thunder Bay's isolation, its low density and spread out tax base, which makes it hard to compare to other parts of Ontario.

And he points out the study doesn't include the $2.1 million dollars in new assessment this year, due to the huge spike in building permits in the past two years.

LU business professor Camillo Lento says if nothing changes, homeowners could see tax increases of around 7.9 per cent over the next four years.

Commisso takes issue with that, as does city councillor Joe Virdiramo.

They say the recent tax hikes have been largely due to a commitment to improve local infrastructure, and the base tax rate has actually gone up just a couple percent.

The city begins its budget deliberations next month.


(Thunder Bay Television)

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The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
"Little Montreal".
1/20/2014 8:56:06 AM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
wonder how long it will be before the chamber is pressured into amending their report, to be more favorable....
1/19/2014 6:52:15 PM
The Beaver..... says:
And he points out the study doesn't include the $2.1 million dollars in new assessment this year, due to the huge spike in building permits .
The City has been bragging for years about the building activity ..so where did that assessment go.
Isolation my Foot. The fact is the Taxpayers that complain are looked down at with a display of arrogance by council and administration but the bubble just burst and now the scramble to find blame somewhere. Thank you Chamber of Commerce
1/19/2014 7:11:19 AM
CM Punk says:
I remember going to one of the open session meetings at the Aud and they said a similar type of arena they want to build here cost $31 million everywhere else but the pricetag here would balloon to $106 million.

They spoke of super concessions, as if people around here need more food to stuff their faces and the Thunder Bay factor. Whatever that is.

1/18/2014 10:20:27 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Four times the # of Sunshine Clubbers, per capita in this City, compared to most others in Ontario. And a Police Chief that makes the same as Chiefs in NYC, Chicago, etc...here is just a taxpayer rip-off.
1/18/2014 8:30:07 PM
Chaos says:
City got 10 million from province to upgrade golf links but then spent it for cost overrun at waterfront. City manager and shuniah joe spinning their tires with more lies. Finally getting caught for their shell game.
1/18/2014 4:51:02 PM
musicferret says:
My taxes are approaching $12000 a year.


This study is correct. I pay more in municipal taxes than many do in rent per month.
1/18/2014 3:42:23 PM
mikevirtanen1961 says:
By my math, your property must be worth something in the $630,000 range. If I could afford a property like that, I'd be more concerned with my caviar expenses and butler bills than my tax rate.
1/20/2014 12:25:46 PM
SomeGuy says:
This also must go with the $4,500 a month mortgage payment, which probably means your making upwards of $250,000 a year in family income.

I'm not knocking musicferret if they make that kind of income good for them, but if your living like that you probably shouldn't be complaining if you have a $630,000 house.
1/20/2014 6:17:22 PM
Escroft says:
And yet they still continue to expand OUTWARDS instead of UPWARDS. More high-rises, population density increase, more revenue. Three reasons for more revenue: 1 - Operational costs to run a single 15-storey tall building are 5x cheaper than operational costs to a single street of 32 homes (16 on each side). 2 - It just looks nicer and doesn't look like God took a rolling pin and flattened this city like a pancake from an aerial view. 3 - Population density makes for shorter commute times if you position the buildings properly and in desirable locations. Stop paving roads so far out in the countryside that has very little benefit. With this city's population, just 10 high-rises of 150-200 units would bring forth a lot of residents back into the city [even moving to the city from abroad]. Not many people from abroad like to live in houses built in the 1950's.
1/18/2014 12:45:47 PM
mikevirtanen1961 says:
One of the few surprises in the report was that the multi-residential tax rate is unusually high. If that were made more proportional, it may encourage further densification and increased efficiency of services.
1/20/2014 1:20:06 PM
jonthunder says:
Hopefully city administration and council will take this report more seriously than they appear to in this article. If the report says there are many areas of inefficiency resulting in higher than necessary costs and waste, then the city should fix those areas of concern and either lower the taxes needed or get more value for the same amount of taxes collected.
1/18/2014 11:27:48 AM
NowayJose says:
I would love to see a municipal audit done here to enlighten the tax payers of the constant waste of our money. Does anyone out there know this process? That should be followed up voting people out of office and if not, terminations and charges laid.
1/18/2014 10:29:36 AM
Kam River says:
City manager Tim Commisso points out doesn't include the $2.1 million dollars in new assessment this year, due to the huge spike in building permits in the past two years.

(1) $2.1 million in new tax money pouring into the city coffers
(2) Millions more because your roperty values have jumped a large amount
(3) On top they want to raise our taxes but another 5%
(4) And don't forget the biggest tax grab your Fake water bill that has nothing to do with how much water you use.

Add to all of the above
(1) The multiplex
(2) An unnecessary youth Centre
(3( And the moving the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, which their board did not ask for.

And you have a debt load that will still being paid off by our grand children.

This is the legacy that this mayor and council are leaving behind.
1/18/2014 10:18:29 AM
Marak says:
Isolation? How are we isolated? That's the excuse we get from local merchants on high prices. How are we more isolated than the Sault? This city is big enough to sustain itself, only the fact that we can't drive easily to the next big city to competively shop is why things are expensive. Our city has huge spending issues and my ability to pay taxes is not increasing. My house value just shot up and now they are saying an increase of almost 8% is coming over the next few years??? When is the insanity going to end???
1/18/2014 10:18:10 AM
Jon Powers says:
The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce :

It's so very nice to see the Chamber telling City Council on how to stop spending.

Where were they when they wanted the "Waterfront" and it's $700,000.00 a year Operation budget and it's $83.5Million Tax funded costs?

Why did they support the "Multi-Plex" and its $1.6Million Operational budget ?

The Chamber needs to get it's act together.

Look back at the 1997 Hospital plebiscite; Then President Irwin stated that the Tax Payers could not afford it.

Q: What is their stand on the City's Business Well-Fare Plans?

Please respond Chamber Members!

Great Story!
1/18/2014 9:47:46 AM
Eastender says:
Its good to see some official confirmation that city spending is out of control, as we taxpayers already knew. Thank you Chamber, and L.U.

None of your flimsy excuses Commisso, can justify the fact that you allocate funds for legacy projects, by neglecting infrastructure costs, then try to justify raising taxes to catch up on replacing the decaying infrastructure.

Time to get rid of this spend and tax culture at city hall, and get some people in there with common sense.
1/18/2014 6:52:06 AM
Tbay99 says:
Finally some common sense! Now we know this current council will not listen but perhaps a new one voted in will! Get out and VOTE Thunder Bay taxpayers, the current council has NO regard for your hard earned dollar.
1/17/2014 10:28:12 PM
nvjgu says:
You have got too be kidding me. Improve local infrastructure he says. He must be referring to the four laneing of golf links. It will be interesting to see how they are going to fix that road after it starts crumbling in a couple years when they cant keep up what's already crumbling, which is the whole town.
1/17/2014 10:23:22 PM
CM Punk says:
I am surprised that this even made to the TB website and newscast this evening.
Because this ultimately puts the city in a bad viewpoint. Hobbs was not able to comment but Timmy was and Joey V.
They don't listen to the taxpayers and not to the Chamber because they think (council) everything is just fine and will keep on spending that cash.
1/17/2014 10:06:56 PM
young&concerned says:
We the taxpayers didn't need a 200 page document to tell us what we already know!

This one of many Keith Hobbs campaign promises/lies which he promised/lied...and I quote from his campaign poster

Fiscal Responsibility
"Eliminate wasteful spending and capital project overruns"
"Reduce debt and hold the line on taxes"

Camillo Lento says if nothing changes, homeowners could see tax increases of around 7.9 per cent over the next four years.

Ya well if that is the case...it will not be under the watch of Hobbs in a second term!

1/17/2014 9:15:35 PM
Harvey P. says:
It's nice to see the paper work behind what the people of this city have been saying for years.

The "Infrastructure City Council" is going to tax us right out of our homes.

1/17/2014 9:15:23 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Why would the City (Commisso)listen to the Chamber of Commerce when they don't even listen to the citizens ?
1/17/2014 6:24:42 PM
arjay says:
this city has an overabundance of Councillors, as well as a superfluous management group. we could start eliminating there, and the rest would get the message!! :)
1/17/2014 5:51:54 PM
Chaos says:
Shame on this city council and adminstration for taking us to bottom of this list...SHAME!!!!
1/17/2014 5:20:29 PM
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