Apparently we’ve embarked on pre-election municipal politics already.
While most folks dislike paying taxes, the June 28 letter from Larry Wenezenki of Courtenay (Taxpayer says City is spending at an unsustainable rate) misses several points.
Taxes represent the collective investment from all citizens for the common good – fire protection, water, sewer and garbage collection, recreational opportunities, policing, parks, road maintenance, etc.
Individuals cannot independently afford these services. While there has been debate regarding a zero tax increase, this was never tied to what areas would likely be compromised. We certainly get better value for our taxes than from the performance of the Canucks/BC Lions!
Evaluating affordability must logically encompass housing, and in my view city councils (not just Courtenay) are controlled by developers and refuse to place any controls on profit; i.e., like it’s sacrilegious to do so. When developments are approved, there is no requirement for the business plan to be filed, including anticipated rents and no limitation on ‘what the market (inflated by speculation) will bear.’
What I see from some council members is some grandstanding, but no consistent approach or voting pattern to establish more responsible spending. This would entail denying some legitimate requests, and voters need to evaluate the consequences first.
Councillors need to be financially prudent, but also have a belief in social justice and a vision for a livable community. It’s easy to balance budgets by selling off public assets, but usually it results in a false economy.