Today I went down to city hall, as I would presume many other Courtenay taxpayers did, to grudgingly pay my property taxes and municipal fees.
After handing over a cheque for almost $3,000, I got to thinking, what am I getting now, and what am I paying now, compared to 10 years ago?
In 2002, I paid approximately $1,400 in taxes and $650 for garbage, sewer and water. Today, I paid almost $2000.00 in taxes and more than $1,000 for garbage, sewage and water. This is an increase of 42 per cent.
I also noticed my frontage fee increased; I guess my lot stretched.
The cost of living, which governs my income, went up only 23 per cent. Why have our payments to the City doubled compared to our income?
I know someone will try to justify this by saying that the assessed value of our properties have gone up. This is a non-starter because the City sets the rates to garner the dollars they decide they need.
Now, what am I getting for my money today that I wasn’t 10 years ago. We got a new face on city hall to go along with a new council. We’re getting an enlarged Lewis Centre for $4.7 million.
I noticed an ad in today’s paper where they want to hire new people for the fitness centre, which is probably the beginning of new hires. We’re going to get a new fire hall on the east side, I presume because of the bottleneck on the Fifth Street Bridge, which we aren’t doing any thing about because we are going to spend money on a wooden bridge.
We could, as suggested by another letter writer, amalgamate our fire protection with Comox, as is the police service.
What else? We have a new regional district that was supposed to be smaller and more cost-effective than the old CSRD. It is neither.
Instead of spending money on bicycle lanes, wooden bridges for cyclists and pedestrians and many other unnecessary expenses, let’s repair our streets. The City promised they would repave Sixth Street East almost a year ago.
I had high hopes last month when I saw a construction sign on our street. I inquired as to what was going to be done, I was told they were repairing the street.
After saying hooray, I found out they had torn up a newly paved section at the entrance to Thorpe Avenue and repaved it. Makes sense to me, like tearing up the new pavement on Lerwick for water lines.
We got a new council, supposedly with common sense. They tell us what they think we want to hear, and once elected, we’ll again hear, “We love spending other people’s money!”