Justice For Pelham Property Owners Affected by Gypsy Moths

Justice For Pelham Property Owners Affected by Gypsy Moths

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Pelham GypsyMoth started this petition to Town of Pelham

All individuals in a household can sign independently. Please share this petition with your friends and family. There is a section at the bottom of the petition for thoughtful comments. Thoughtful comments will be presented with the petition too. We are trying to garner as much support for our cause as possible before the 6:30pm October 23, 2019 public meeting at the MCC. Please attend this meeting if possible. There will be opportunity for you to ask questions of the Town and Council.

We, the undersigned citizens of Pelham, respectfully request the Town of Pelham (the "Town") Council to repeal their decision to unfairly and inequitably bill 294 Pelham property owners $260 as a cost-recovery measure to disproportionately fund the Town's Public 2019 Gypsy Moth Spray Program (the "Program", the "Spray").

On May 21, 2019, Town Council made a decision to bill the full amount of the urban spray fees without proper notice, consent, ability to opt-out or documented cause to 294 Pelham residents.

Trees clearly benefit all those who reside within a Town and offer a positive environment to grow economically. We believe the decision to protect horticultural assets by the Town with no option for opt-out is the responsibility of THE TOWN as a whole.

Town communication of the 2019 Gypsy Moth Spray Program is incongruent with every identified value in the Town's 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. The $260 averages an unannounced 2019 annual increase in property taxes for 296 property owners of approximately 7% on top of the 3.8% increase announced in March (totalling 10.8%), while not increasing it beyond 3.8% for the additional 6800 taxpayers who benefit from Pelham's trees.

We respectfully ask that discrepancies within the 2019 Gypsy Moth Spray Program be studied by the Town to prevent future irresponsible expenditure of taxpayers monies and to prevent further erosion of trust. These discrepancies include but are not limited to: inequitable property size billings, lack of documentation that all sprayed properties clearly met the requirements set forth in Town By-law 4106(2019) that permitted the Town to spray severely infested properties; and errors in price schedule fees submitted by the contractor. 

Let it be noted, many "urban" sprayed properties had documentation to support zero infestation prior to the Spray and did not meet the severe infestation criteria threshold widely accepted by other provincial municipalities and most North American jurisdictions.

Affected property owners within the "urban" spray area received unclear or NO notification that their properties would be included in the public Spray and that they would be receiving inequitable bills to pay for a disproportionate amount of the Town's costly program.

The Town has always taken the position that Public Gypsy Moth Spray Programs be funded out of the Public Purse. The 2019 Program's funding method contravenes this position.

Additional funding options not presented in the May 21, 2019 Town staff report could include funding the 2019 Program through identified 2019 Capital and Operating Budget surpluses and if any costs remain, having these costs shared fairly and equitably among all 6800+ property taxpayers in Pelham. This cost would be minimal when shared, totalling an estimated one-time fee of $11 per property tax bill.

If average property taxes in Pelham were said to average $5000 per year, equitable cost sharing between all taxpayers would result in an approximate one-year 0.2% increase in property taxes to preserve the Town's trees. If the well-documented 2019 Town surpluses are used to help offset this amount, the net property tax increase could be zero for all Pelham taxpayers.

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