Editor, The News:
While I applaud Tom Murray’s efforts to be a fiscal watchdog of city taxes, aiming for a zero-base tax increase is not fiscally prudent.
Even if the city holds the line on services, a small increase is necessary to off-set increases passed on by everyone who supplies the city with services or products.
If not, then something must be cut to offset those expenses, and I don’t think there’s much to cut while maintaining the current level of services.
I lived through three consecutive years of zero-base tax increases in Maple Ridge, and while it seemed to be good at the time, reality sunk in during the fourth year as people were feeling the pinch of decreased or eliminated services and demanding a return to the first-year levels of service. In order to do that, a much larger tax increase was required just to catch up. That, nobody expected.
Also, I wonder if most of the people signing the petition really understand the tax notice they receive.
Even if the city had a zero tax increase, that doesn’t mean your tax notice will not increase.
The city acts as a revenue collector for the school board, Metro Vancouver, B.C. Assessment Authority and TransLink, all of which the city has no control over. The city also passes on the costs of water, sewer and garbage collection, which fees are established by Metro Vancouver Regional District, not by the city. All of these things represent approximately 40 percent of your overall tax notice.
Before you get off-base over city taxes, try attending an open budget meeting or attend a business plan presentation meeting. This is were you can determine if city taxes are excessive. But then, the six people who do attend these meetings already know what’s going on in Pitt Meadows.