With the city of Courtenay expanding residentially and commercially it is recognized that we need to grow our city services and infrastructure.
We have demands on the city’s taxpayers to build wooden bridges, rejuvenate/expand our recreational facilities in a floodplain, build a farmers’ market, create artificial turf on playing fields, build a hospital, bridge and fire hall.
The question/concern I have is: how do we pay for these critical needs? Our property taxes are escalating at an unsustainable rate!
Perhaps we need to be thinking outside the box. I congratulate the mayor and councillors for their good work and all the time and personal sacrifices they make in building and maintaining our community.
We are fortunate to have people who have put public service ahead of personal gain and pleasure. As a concerned taxpayer with vested interest in our community and the relentless demand for taxes I believe I have a responsibility to express my concern for the never-ending increase in property taxes and to help identify ways and means to aid in this pursuit.
That is what I would like to do by writing to you. A couple years ago Fortis made a contribution to our city by providing a solar blanket for our public outdoor swimming pool. It was reported that this initiative by Fortis saved us approximately $15,000 in heating costs for the pool.
I trust those savings went to some project like reducing local business taxes. This was an excellent display of a community partnership. We must applaud such partnerships.
Now we have Shaw coming forward to offer free Wi-Fi service in public buildings and popular open spaces within our city. We also have a need for a second community fire hall in East Courtenay.
I suggest that we take advantage of Shaw’s offer. If we do not, the demand will be made of us sooner or later for our precious tax dollars to provide Wi-Fi.
Please note I am not a user of this service but can see the future is turning in this direction. We now have an opportunity to partner with Shaw to take this potential burden from us and I for one (taxpayer) say — move on this!
In relation to the need for a new fire hall in East Courtenay, I say that this is one of the critical/basic services we as a community need. Set the discretionary projects aside and get this done.
And I expect that having a second fire hall in Courtenay will save lives and properties. Thus, I suggest we advocate the creation of a second fire hall with the various insurance companies that will benefit financially from having this critical resource added to our community and have them partner with us in building our community infrastructure.
As our community grows so does our taxes and I do not believe the property tax increases are sustainable. We need to find new ways to supplement the financing of our services and infrastructure — partnership with businesses benefiting from our community is one alternative to leaning unsustainably upon our property taxpayers.
I urge Courtenay council to move ahead on building our critical services and infrastructure, approve discretionary projects as funding is available and explore alternative means to aid the financing our needs.