Drew Dilkens promises to 'hold the line on taxes' if re-elected

Dilkens said he will 'continue to hold the line on taxes' and 'continue with the debt reduction policy' if re-elected, promising that the city's current debt rate of $77.9 million will reduce to $46.2 million.

Opponent Matt Marchand says Dilkens' financial plan 'doesn't add up'

Drew Dilkens says, if re-elected, he'll reduce the city's current rate of debt by 40 per cent by the end of his next term. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Drew Dilkens has announced the next portion of his re-election platform — titled "Holding the Line on Taxes & Putting Taxpayers First."

On Thursday, Dilkens said he has held the line on taxes down to 2.4 per cent during his last four years in office, the "lowest of any city" in Ontario.

"Since 2008 ... we've saved tax-payers cumulatively $659 million," he said standing outside city hall.

Voters will have five options to choose from to fill the mayor's seat — (from L to R) Ernie Lamont, Frank Dyck, Drew Dilkens, Matt Marchand and Tom Hensel.

Here are some of the other claims Dilkens made during the announcement:

  • The city's debt has decreased by 25 per cent, down from $104.1 million in 2014 to $77.9 million in 2018.
  • ENWIN customers (who use a monthly average of 750 kilowatts per hour) have only seen an annual increase of "one half of one per cent."
  • ENWIN is the most audited company at the City of Windsor and reports regularly to council.
  • Delaying the "cost of service" application to 2020 will save taxpayers $11.43 million.
  • The City of Windsor's combined property tax rate — referred to by Dilkens as "the property tax rate combined with the sewer surcharge" — is $837 lower than the provincial average.

Moving forward

Dilkens said he will "continue to hold the line on taxes" and "continue with the debt reduction policy" if re-elected, promising that the city's current debt rate of $77.9 million will reduce to $46.2 million.

"We will pay off an additional $32 million in debt over the next four years," said Dilkens.

Some of his other commitments, Dilkens said, are to control costs at ENWIN, pursue consolidation with nearby cities to "find efficiencies in the LDC sector" and to deliver a "disciplined and balanced approach" when managing city hall.

Remy Boulbol and Bill Marra predict voters will choose either incumbent Drew Dilkens or challenger Matt Marchand, shown here, to fill the mayor's seat on Oct. 22. (Kaitie Fraser/CBC)

Opponent critical of mayor's promises

According to mayoral candidate Matt Marchand, today's announcement was proof that Dilkens "can't keep his story straight."

"Last year, he said that a tax freeze was too painful. This year apparently, it's okay," he said, adding there are no numbers to support Dilkens' tax plan.

Marchand said there needs to be more clarity as to where the money is going to come from to fund all of Dilkens' promises.

"Where is all of this being paid for?" he said.

A re-election billboard for Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens on Dougall Avenue was found defaced Thursday. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Dilkens billboard defaced

On Friday, it was discovered that a re-election billboard for Drew Dilkens had been defaced — the billboard, located on Dougall Avenue appeared to be covered in black substance.

In an email to CBC News, Dilkens said he has filed a police report.

"Any type of defacing of any kind of campaign signs or billboard is totally wrong and that needs to stop," said Marchand, reacting to the news.

The municipal election takes place Oct. 22.