Brilliantly, the Francis Party has used a property tax increase to ensure the election of mayor-in-waiting Freddie Francis and to rid the council of its so-called rebels. That taxpayers face a 2.73% property tax increase, 1.73% plus a 1% hospital levy, and a 2.17% sewer surcharge increase seemed to signal an end to the council’s fake holding the line on taxes.
But that is the genius of the strategy.
For eight years, Windsor council has bragged about a tax freeze which never existed. It simply commandeered decreases in education taxes. By not passing the savings on to ratepayers, Windsor Council deprived residents of a string of tax decreases.
Getting interim mayor Drew Dilkens to agree to preside over a tax increase was nothing if not a master stroke.
Although not all that surprising, considering his popularity is sinking so low he is now one of the most unliked mayors among the country’s major cities. Using the increase to patch-up the faltering legacy of Eddie Francis is equally devious.
What is almost amusing is how it went over the heads of the naïve rebels.
Were Rino Bortolin, Chris Holt, Irek Kusmierczyk, and Bill Marra, who rarely vote with the Francis Council, gullible enough not to understand their fate?
Voters, are tired of the constant tax grabs, especially after the continual hammering by Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. They’ll will simply the current councilors the door in the 2018 municipal election.
At the same time, the remaining Francis Party councilors, except for JoAnne Gignac, who voted against the increase, will retire or depart on their own.
A new crop of Francis supporters will contest the election, all with a promise to restore the pretend tax freeze, and they will win in a landslide.
What is ironic, something the rebels missed, is the tax increase is hardly needed.
Most of the money will be used to fix the mistakes of Eddie Francis and is a good example of good money pitched after bad.
An additional $50,000, added to the promotional budget at Adventure Bay, will erase the annual loss and bring new prosperity to the downtown.
Old mayor Francis wanted a downtown canal. His brother will convert the Grand Marais drain into an urban water paradise and dedicate it to his brother.
And, of course, there will be the Eddie Francis Riverside Drive underpass.
But there could be a flaw in this remarkable and well-calculated plan. Taxpayers might finally figure out these Francis mistake fixers are unnecessary and frivolous tax wasters.
The clear and present danger is them taking their wrath out on the Francis Council which should have lowering taxes for 8 years, not raising them.