Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thanks for Four Days of Summerfest!

Were you among the more than 15,000 people that enjoyed Pelham Summerfest on Saturday in Downtown Fonthill? Or, the more than 2,500 people that defied the drizzle last Thursday to hear “Elvis” at the Fonthill Bandshell, participate in the Pelham Farmer’s Market, and Art in the Park? Or, were you one of the 2,000 who came out on Friday night for the Region’s first “Niagara Nights of Art” program in Peace Park? Or did you and your family participate in the family walk, the last day of Art in the Park, or in the Communities In Bloom Garden Tour on Sunday?

As you recall, dedicated volunteers and the Town worked together in 2011 to host Pelham’s first Summerfest. The single day, community event celebrated the end of the reconstruction of Downtown Fonthill, promoted local businesses, and hosted more than 10,000 people!

On behalf of Council and the community, thank you to the 2012 Summerfest Committee for your vision, your hard-work, and your dedication to make this year’s four-day event an amazing success! Thank you to Councillor Gary Accursi, chair; Todd Barber, from the Downtown Beautification Committee; Bea Clark, Pelham Active Transportation Committee; Kathleen Goodman, Pelham / Welland Chamber of Commerce; John Wink, Pelham Business Association; and Vickie van Ravenswaay, Town of Pelham staff.

The committee worked together with so many other dedicated volunteers including those from: Fonthill & District Kinsmen; Rotary Club of Fonthill; Fonthill Lions; Fabulous Fenwick Lions; Pelham Active Transportation Committee; local artists who shared their voices, visions, and vibrancy as part of the Niagara Nights of Art; Patricia Haftar; the Pelham Art Fesitival, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council; the Fonthill Bandshell Summer Concert Committee; and the Pelham Farmer’s Market Committee.

Thank you to the community-minded contractors / suppliers who built the Pavilion at the top of Pelham Town Square. So many have complimented the designer – Todd Barber – on it and since Town Council has agreed to keep the Pavilion there until October, we are interested in your feedback.  Please fill out the Pavilion on-line survey at

And, thank you to the many Friends of Pelham Summerfest and the many generous corporate sponsors including: Forestgreen Creations; Lafarge Canada; Fonthill Dental; McAvoy, Belan & Campbell; Enbridge; Travelers; Fonthill Sobey’s; and Shoalts Brothers Construction!

On behalf of Council, I appreciate the vision, dedication, and tremendous work by so many volunteers and staff to celebrate our vibrant, creative, and caring community! Thank you and congratulations on a resounding and overwhelming success!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pelham's 2012 Residential Property Taxes

If you pay your property taxes by installments, you will know that your third installment of your 2012 property tax bill came due late last month. Because of that deadline, a number of people asked me questions that I hope to answer over my next few columns.

First, you may recall that I wrote about the 2012 property tax change in February just after Council approved the Town’s operating budget. At that time I wrote "...the average residential property value for 2012 is expected to be $284,566. If MPAC assessed your home and property at that value, you will pay an additional $31 or a total of approximately $1,289 on the Pelham portion of your property tax bill."

I am pleased to let you know that those values still hold true. However, you may recall that that "Pelham portion" of your tax bill accounts for only 34% of your total residential property tax bill.

The Niagara Region accounts for 49% of the property taxes you pay in Pelham, while the Provincial educational portion is the remaining 17%. For the average residential property, the Regional portion of your tax bill increased by 3.3% -- or $59 for a total of approximately $1,850 -- and the Education portion barely changed -- increasing $0.57 for a total of approximately $629.

When you combine these amounts, the average residential property tax bill increased by $91 (or 2.48%) for a total of $3,768.

For clarity, that is for an average residential property assessed at $284,566 and that increased in value by 4.6%. This 4.6% was the average residential assessment increase from 2011 to 2012.

But, what if you residential assessment increased more than the average? Or, what if the assessed value increased less than the average?

If your assessed value increases more than the average you will pay more than average. For example, if the assessed value of your home increased by 7% from 2011 to 2012, that’s higher than the 4.6% average, and you would pay more property tax than the average increase.

By the same token, if your assessed value increases less than the average -- say by only 3% -- you will pay less tax than the average increase, but likely more than you paid in 2011.

I hope that helps explain why the specific experience of property owners varies from the average. I will write further about changes to property taxes over the next few weeks.