NTAG

Newmarket Taxpayers Advocacy Group Inc.

NTAG needs your help…

As a non-profit organization NTAG relies solely on Membership Fees and Donations to fund our work.

Through the generous support of our members, we have made significant progress in advocating for YOU, the taxpayer, and have succeeded in making a difference!

Our small group of volunteers need help! Can you volunteer a few hours? Can you refer a new member? Can you donate?

Here is an incentive to help!

If you refer a new member between now and October 25th 2016, or contribute a minimum $20 donation to NTAG, you will be entered into a draw to win a beautiful Artisan Glass Bowl hand made by local Newmarket Artisan Ian Macinnis.

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Any additional paid new member you refer, or a minimum $20 donation to NTAG, will give you an entry in the draw. Draw will be held on October 26th 2016.

You can donate at our Open House on Oct 5th, or online by visiting NTAG.ca and click the Donate Button, or by mail to: NTAG – c/o 777 Queen Street, Newmarket, ON L3Y 2J4. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and a minimum $20 pledge will enter you into the draw.

We need your help to make sure we have the funds we need to continue our work.  Your support is greatly appreciated!

Please consider donating today to NTAG! Any amount is greatly appreciated!



Media Release: NTAG Open House

NTAGLogo100Media Advisory

October 5th NTAG Open House

Confirmed guest speaker: Colin Service, Director, Recreation and Culture for the Town of Newmarket

Newmarket, ON, September 27, 2016 – The Newmarket Taxpayers Advocacy Group Inc. (NTAG) will be hosting an Open House for all interested citizens 7:00 PM Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at Madsen’s Greenhouses, located at 160 Bayview Parkway, Newmarket.

The volunteers of NTAG will be presenting their most recent research and efforts to ensure increased accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility within local government on behalf of all Newmarket taxpayers.

NTAG volunteers recently met with Colin Service, the Director of Recreation and Culture for the Town of Newmarket, to discuss the annual $750,000 deficit reported in the Town of Newmarket financials for the theatre. Further, NTAG sought to understand the Town of Newmarket’s strategy in managing this significant deficit with the re-opening of the Old Town Hall – another Town of Newmarket theatre venue.

Mr. Service will attend the Open House to discuss the theatre deficit, and the Town’s plans. He will also discuss how the Town of Newmarket plans to operate both the Old Town Hall and the Newmarket Theatre profitably.

“We have consistently sought to work collaboratively with the Town of Newmarket, York Region and the school boards to share information, and find solutions that will benefit all taxpayers” states Teena Bogner, President of NTAG. “Mr. Service’s willingness to speak directly to our members and guests about this issue is indicative of our mutual willingness to work together. We are honoured to have him as our guest speaker.”

The Newmarket Taxpayers Advocacy Group Inc. (NTAG) is a provincially incorporated non-for-profit ratepayers group in Newmarket, ON. NTAG is a non-political, non-partisan, advocacy organization dedicated to fair taxes, less waste and transparent and accountable government in all levels of government (town, region and school boards) in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

For information on Newmarket Taxpayers Advocacy Group Inc.:

Teena Bogner                                                Doug Brown

President                                                       Communications Chairperson

president@ntag.ca                                       Doug@ntag.ca

Open House – All Welcome!

All residents are welcome to the NTAG Open House at Madsen’s Greenhouse, on Bayview Parkway, to learn more of what NTAG has been working on to ensure transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility with local government.

Colin Service, Director of Recreation and Culture, will be our special guest. Colin will discuss the deficit the Town Theatre has been incurring for several years, and what the Town’s plans are for the theatre moving forward.

Share this event via Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1266449213399199/

Media Release – Old Town Hall

NTAGLogo100

Media Advisory

Was the Town thinking with its heart, rather than its head?

Newmarket, ON, September 19, 2016 – The grand opening of the renovated Newmarket Old Town Hall is this week. This project is finally ending, and the taxpayers are paying an excessive amount for it.

The renovation, which began in 2009, and scheduled to end in 2014, was rife with delays and cost overruns. After numerous indecision points, design changes, budget modifications, and specific tendering options demanded by Town Council, the project was approved by Council to proceed in 2013 at a budgeted cost of $10.6 million.

NTAG has consulted with professionals in the building construction and engineering industry. We have shared with them the documents received from the Town of Newmarket from our Freedom of Information request.

Of their concerns, two were prominent in their review:

  1. In 2009 the geotechnical firm hired to assess and analyse the Old Town Hall prior to renovations, were limited in their ability to perform a full assessment. The COMMISSIONER OF DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES REPORT 2013-34, dated July 29, 2013 [see attached], stated that the geotechnical firm did not receive existing or past renovation drawings; and, the Town of Newmarket limited the geotechnical firm access around the Old Town Hall to do the necessary tests.

Upon commencement of construction and renovation in 2013, it was determined the foundation of the building was unsafe. “… due to loose and dropping stones the work was deemed unsafe and stopped. On June 18, 2013, the Town’s building inspector issued a stop to any further similar work until an external engineer’s review and report is provided that demonstrates the foundations are sound.”  [Report 2013-34]. Had adequate due diligence been permitted in 2009, this likely would have been discovered prior to the start of construction.

  1. Council was provided the opportunity, days after this report, to terminate the project at a cost of $1.7 million, reassess the future of the building, solicit public consultation, and develop another plan. Instead, Council voted 4-3 to pay an additional $1.4 million, for a total cost of $10.6 million. The project was to be completed in 2014.

In 2010, a Town Councillor was quoted in the Newmarket Era as being concerned that the initial cost for the project had jumped “…from $5.1 million to $8.9 million in a matter of months and with the potential for the number to climb higher with the final cost analysis was frightening, according to Councillor Dave Kerwin, who is convinced the town could produce a beautiful building at a fraction of the cost.”  He is further quoted as stating, “We need to be mindful of the taxpayers.” [Newmarket Era, Apr 07, 2010, “Newmarket town hall plan hits wall”]

“This is another example of a large capital project that will cost the taxpayers millions, with little oversight, poor planning and questionable due diligence”, states Teena Bogner, President of NTAG.  “This project started at $5.1 million, rose to $8.9 million, and is budgeted for $10.6 million.  How is this being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers who fund this exorbitant and ridiculous amount?   While the Town did receive $3.4 million in grant funding from the provincial and federal government, even our Mayor acknowledges the lack of due diligence.”

“Because we were faced with a very short time frame to submit the application, the grant request was submitted without the benefit of the advice from an architect, prior consultation with the user groups or the community at large.” – Tony Van Bynen http://www.vanbynen.ca/uncategorized/newmarket-old-town-hall-worth/

The Town of Newmarket is currently carrying $36.9 million in debt for capital projects that are 10-15 years old, such as the Magna Centre, Youth Centre parking lot, the Stickwood-Walker farm purchase, and the new Operations Centre.

“We have questions:  How many taxpayers is the Old Town Hall going to truly benefit?  How will the Old Town Hall and the Newmarket Theatre, (currently at a deficit of $750,000 a year) co-exist?  More importantly, what debt load are we leaving for future generations of Newmarket taxpayers?  All taxpayers should be asking the same.” states Bogner.

All large construction projects have a working budget with projections and any cost exposures, with current and anticipated costs.  NTAG made several requests to the Town of Newmarket for the current cost of the Old Town Hall renovation – the information was not available.

The Newmarket Taxpayers Advocacy Group Inc. (NTAG) is a provincially incorporated non-for-profit ratepayers group in Newmarket, ON. NTAG is a non-political, non-partisan, advocacy organization dedicated to fair taxes, less waste and transparent and accountable government in all levels of government (town, region and school boards) in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.

For information on Newmarket Taxpayers Advocacy Group Inc.:

Teena Bogner                                         Doug Brown      

President                                                Director, Communications          

president@ntag.ca                                doug@ntag.ca

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Click here to download a .pdf copy of the Media Release

Supporting documents:

Click here to view Engineering Report 2013-34

Click here to view Engineering Report 2015-41

Note the highlighted sections on pages 18, 22, 24:

oldtownhall1 oldtownhall2 oldtownhall3

Come meet NTAG!

NTAG continues to work for YOU, the taxpayer. Come and learn what we have been working on at the following venues:

Main Street Fall Festival – Saturday, September 17th – 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

NTAG Open House – Madsen’s Greenhouses – Wednesday, October 5th – 7:00 PM

Newmarket Farmer’s Market – Saturday, October 7th – 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

We look forward to meeting you there.

© 2016 Newmarket Taxpayers Advocacy Group Inc. (Ontario Non-for-profit Corporation No. 1926374)