Postal hikes will mean municipal tax hikes, treasurers say 0
A pair of mailboxes on the property of the Canada Post distribution centre on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 on Rye St. in Peterborugh. Clifford Skarstedt/QMI AGENCY
Municipalities from coast to coast are warning residents that increased Canada Post costs will come back to hit them on their tax bill.
Last month, Canada Post announced price increases for letters mailed within the country, effective March 31.
Regular mail from a postage meter — a machine widely used in business to stamp mail — is increasing 15% to 75 cents.
Ottawa's city treasurer figures the new prices will cost her city an extra $200,000 this year. Add another $100,000 to that total in 2015.
From parking tickets to water bills, municipalities are still major users of snail mail.
"Every department obviously sends mail," said Jim Lang, the city treasurer in Orillia, Ont.
While he is still calculating what the total cost increase will be for his city going forward, Orillia — and others — are looking for alternatives, such as relying more on electronic receipts and bills.
But just how far they can go is limited by law.
"Various pieces of legislation require you to use mail," said Dawn McAlpine, director of legislative and court services and city clerk in Barrie, Ont. "The Municipal Act says that."
Tax bills, for instance, must be mailed out.
"That's the costs of doing business and it all goes on the tax bill," said Brian Cousins, treasurer of Belleville, Ont., whose city will see an annual $10,000 increase to its budget due to the postal increases.
— with files from Jon Willing, Sara Ross, Bob Bruton, Jason Miller
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