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Low’s high taxes

March 1st,2023 | Valley Voices

By Steve Connolly

Ever since the property tax-related Battle of Brennan’s Hill in 1895, it took 127 years for the taxes upon Low’s residents to reach the level of $2 million in 2022. In just one year Low is seeing this amount increase by a shocking 27 per cent, by $546,000, for 2023.

For a few years, some good folks in Low have been trying to raise $100,000 to fund repairs to the skating arena — a huge amount for our poor community. Yet our council can obtain more than five times this amount in one year from us —because it will take our houses from us if we don’t pay. Reported only a few months ago, residents were in arrears for more than $500,000 in back taxes.

For years council has done nothing to find an economical waste-collection approach and cornered themselves at the last minute to have to accept a three-year, hugely expensive agreement with a single bidder/ contractor. The current three-year capital plan allows for no other less costly options to be considered. Knowing that the additional cost would be huge, four members of council voted to force the community to commence a compost pick-up program this year without any idea as to what the effect would be for taxpayers. This cost is one of the main, but not only, reasons for the tax increase and has resulted in enormous waste-collection fees for residents and businesses — $556 per residence, two to three times that of other communities. Business fees are far worse.

Of 91 waste collections this year, 39 are for compost. So far, out of about 1,000 sites, only five bins were picked up for the first two runs. People are upset with both the MRC and council for the unacceptable approach and high cost. A waste transfer site or a home composting approach, [like] Val-des-Monts, would be far more efficient.

The mayor also voted with the MRC to increase Low’s invoice to them by a record annual increase of $63,000, representing just over 11 per cent of Low’s tax increase. The mayor did this against the wishes of her councillors.

Citizens are not yet aware that the three-year plan schedules $3.275 million, ($75,000 this year) to be spent for the plans and building of a new municipal office and fire hall at the old police station just north of Low’s village. And $115,000 to upgrade the adjacent park this year. Amongst other expenses are two new vehicles and a $100,000 picnic/viewing shelter to be built behind the existing municipal office. Until the council gets waste-collection costs and tax increases greatly reduced, new capital costs need to be curtailed or delayed.

March 6 is the next Low public council meeting.

Steve Connolly is a resident of Low, Quebec.

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