Ben­nett, Ther­rien con­tinue to spar over what prop­erty taxes are in­tended for

The Peterborough Examiner - - News - JOELLE KO­VACH Ex­am­iner Staff Writer joelle.ko­vach @pe­ter­bor­ough­

Diane Ther­rien says that if Mayor Daryl Ben­nett doesn’t think she’s smart enough to be mayor, he shouldn’t mince his words: he just should say so.

Ben­nett has been mayor for eight years and is run­ning for re-elec­tion against Ther­rien, a Town Ward coun­cil­lor for four years.

Ther­rien was re­spond­ing to a sug­ges­tion from Ben­nett that she doesn’t un­der­stand the fun­da­men­tals of prop­erty taxes.

He asked her in a live tele­vised de­bate on YourTV on Wed­nes­day evening for the math for­mula used by city staff to cal­cu­late mu­nic­i­pal tax bills — and she couldn’t give it.

Ben­nett men­tioned it again on Thurs­day while mak­ing a pol­icy an­nounce­ment about his in­fra­struc­ture pri­or­i­ties.

He said that if re-elected, he’ll en­sure that prop­erty taxes are spent on in­fra­struc­ture projects — not on “in­come re­dis­tri­bu­tion” .

“I was chal­lenged some­what by an in­di­vid­ual who truly does not un­der­stand (that),” Ben­nett said, re­fer­ring to Ther­rien, dur­ing his re­marks.

When asked later in a me­dia scrum whether he thinks Ther­rien lacks any un­der­stand­ing of how prop­erty taxes are meant to be used, he didn’t say yes or no.

“Ms. Ther­rien cer­tainly didn’t know the fun­da­men­tals of the for­mula used (by city staff ),” he said, re­fer­ring to the de­bate on YourTV.

In a phone in­ter­view later Thurs­day, Ther­rien said she’s been on city coun­cil long enough to un­der­stand tax rates and how they are ap­plied.

“If Daryl is try­ing to say that I’m not smart enough to do the job, he should just come out and say it,” she said.

She also said a mayor is meant to pro­vide lead­er­ship, “not mi­cro­man­age our com­pe­tent civil ser­vants about cal­cu­la­tions of mu­nic­i­pal tax rates.”

“I’m dis­ap­pointed that of all the ques­tions Daryl could have asked dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s de­bate, he chose a “pop quiz” rather than a sub­stan­tive ques­tion on pol­icy or the is­sues fac­ing our city daily,” she said.

The elec­tion is Oct. 22.

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