Cindy Laprade Municipal Election Candidate Profile
Name: Cindy Laprade, CPA, CMA
Municipality: Drummond North Elmsley
Position Sought: Councillor for Drummond/North Elmsley Ward 2
Currently Retired or Working (where?): Working – Treasurer, Township of Rideau Lakes. I was hired in October 2016 after the large deficit was discovered. Since then the deficit has been funded and the Township of Rideau Lakes is doing much better financially.
Former Elected Positions/Terms if applicable: N/A
Community volunteer experience (service clubs, local committees, fundraising, etc): Treasurer, Board of Directors, The Table, Community Food Centre in Perth. Previously Chair Board of Directors, Stonewick Heights, Subsidized Apartment Building; Prepared Tax Returns for CNIB; Sunday School Teacher.
Top 3 issues facing your municipality and its residents that council has control or major influence over: Fiscal Responsibility and Long-Term Financial Sustainability; Fair Taxation; and Planning for Climate Change.
Your solutions/approach to those 3 issues:
Fiscal Responsibility & Long-Term Financial Sustainability: Because I am an Accountant and a Treasurer of another local municipality I have firsthand experience and knowledge of what is required for a Township to develop, and stick to, long range financial plans. This means adherence to operating budgets and prioritizing capital expenditures to ensure funds are there to replace or build new infrastructure when needed. It’s about getting the biggest bang for your buck and not spending more money than you can afford.
Fair Taxation: What is fair taxation? It’s taxation that is affordable. Normally the more you make the more you pay. But not with property taxation. If you have lived in your home forever and the value of your home goes up, your property taxes will go up. Doesn’t matter how much you earn or what you can afford. What is clear is that property taxation is not fair, and it cannot provide the funding required to replace our infrastructure into the future especially because the provincial government continues to reduce grant funding to municipalities and the federal government does not even pay their fair share of property taxes, called PILTS (payment in lieu of taxes). The federal government pays what they feel like, not what other residents pay. Annually they short change all townships by hundreds of thousands of dollars because they decide what they will pay. This is not fair, and all municipalities need to address this issue.
It is estimated that Ontario municipalities would need to increase property taxes 8% per year for the next ten years to cover the shortfall in infrastructure replacement. No one can afford that. It is obvious that municipalities need to find another source or reliable revenue other than property taxation. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario is asking the federal and provincial government for a 1% sales tax devoted solely to local infrastructure services such as roads and bridges. Municipalities face a lot of challenges in the coming years. I am ready for that challenge.
Planning for Climate Change: As a Councillor I would work towards ensuring reserve funds exist to deal with climate change to prevent spikes in property tax rates. For example, funds should be set aside to deal with the costs of extreme weather, e.g. extra snow plowing, flooded roads, etc. In addition, the Township must ensure its Emergency Response Plan is up-to-date and communicated to residents. We need to know what to do if we get hit with a tornado or have long power outages.
Do you own (or have a stake in) or operate a commercial/industrial business in your municipality? (Including vacant development lands or rental units): I own a home in Rideau Ferry.