Kirkland Lake homeowners upset over retroactive increases
Homeowners in the community of Kirkland Lake are upset over retro-active increases to their property taxes and water rates.
At least one local family finds the load too much to bear and is now looking to leave town.
The Sandrid family is looking to move after they were notified of the town's hikes to its water bills and property taxes.
Sandra and her husband are both retired, have medical conditions, and were only just getting by with the increases.
Now, their bills have almost doubled.
"We can no longer afford to live in Kirkland Lake. The taxes and the water bill are far too high for somebody who is on CPP (Canada Pension Plan) or disability," said Sandrin.
For many, the name Sandrid is synonymous with the town. They have a long history with helping the local mining and timber industries.
But in their older years, they feel local politicians are now neglecting the senior population.
"The mindset has changed within counsel, that it's all dollars and cents. That they've forgotten about the people, the very thing that makes this a town," said Sandrid.
Other residents on a modest income say they don't know how they will meet the town's August 25th deadline to pay the higher, retroactive bills.
Sarah Souci is another resident that is concerned about the increases.
"I'm not going be able to pay this bill in full. So, next month, another $200 that could've been put into my savings account or put somewhere else, it's not going to happen. It's going to be going right back to this water bill," said Souci.
Mayor Pat Kiely agrees that mistakes were made in passing the budget and bringing about these changes.
"Quite honestly, I don't think council or staff realized the magnitude of the increase that was going to be retroactive, or we would've made other plans to try and compensate for that," said Kiely.
He says this kind of misstep won't happen again and that the town is willing to work with residents.
"It sounds pretty extreme to move away for a $350 bill, for example, in my case. Would I be moving away? No. I'd be working to work out payments to make that happen," said Kiely.
"They promised when they were being elected that they were not going to raise the taxes and they still did. I don't trust them no more. The town itself, I will visit often. I love this town," said Sandrid.
Kiely says the town is offering payment plans to residents facing hardship and is urging them to bring their cases to the town hall.
Meanwhile, the Sandrids are moving forward with their plan to relocate.