On November 14th in Port Colborne, the GNCC represented local businesses shocked by a 350 per cent rise in fire inspection fees since last year. In his address to Port Colborne City Council, Policy & Government Relations Manager Hugo Chesshire remarked that for the affected businesses, Port Colborne already levied the highest taxes in Niagara at 25 per cent more than the regional average. Taxes and user fees represent opposite ends of a continuum, he said, and while high taxes represent a view that the public goods of government ought to be paid for by all, high fees reflect a belief that government services ought to be funded by those who benefit most. However, it was unfair to charge both.
Port Colborne councillor John Mayne, himself a local businessman, felt that this sudden rise might indicate issues with other fees being out of line in the city, and proposed a motion for Council to conduct a full review of the city’s fees. The GNCC supported his motion, and we were pleased when Council passed it last night.
The GNCC will continue to work with the City of Port Colborne and their fee review committee to ensure that taxes and fees for local businesses are fair and affordable.