Taxes in Southwold Township expected to skyrocket
If you thought tax hikes in the two to four per cent range were high, look out, residents in part of Elgin County will likely see their taxes jump by 45 per cent over the next three years.
The hike is partly due to fallout from the closure of the Ford plant in St. Thomas - including a loss of tax revenue and jobs.
Southwold Township's deputy mayor, Grant Jones, who is running to be mayor, made the admission recently.
And two years after the fact, it is believed to be far worse than expected, with no solution on the horizon.
"It's just the perfect storm, I guess you would call it. It's not perfect for us, but this is what's happened...I can't imagine any other issue that could have been worse for us right now. With the 14.6 [per cent] increase this year, and the next couple of years will be roughly the same."
It's a desperate move by a municipality that has lost 50 per cent of its annual revenue.
The Ford closure isn't entirely to blame though, as other municipal funding sources have also been reduced or lost completely.
To try to cope, projects like a library replacement in Shedden have been put on hold.
But it's not all bad news, Southwold residents have had it good for so long, that it's not until the third year of increases that they will see rates that exceed nearby municipalities.
Still, some are concerned the hike will push people to leave the township.
Meanwhile, a possible sale and future uses for the former Ford facility continue to be rumoured.