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LETTER: Budget placing financial strain on Saanich taxpayers

I am not sure what fanatical financial world the mayor and councillors of Saanich are living in, but it certainly is not my world.

In the midst of a pandemic, creating a federal debt of $1.5 trillion and a provincial debt of billions of dollars, with no plans for balanced budgets, and with cost-of-living increases for taxpayers skyrocketing, this mayor and council add to taxpayers’ trauma by enforcing a tax increase of almost six per cent. Who do they think is going to pay for these deficits and debts? Did your pension or salary increase by six per cent? And these days, you have to be a millionaire to purchase a house in Saanich.

Did they not consider the massive increases in virtually every segment of our cost of living? The CPI is the highest in 10 years, home insurance rates are undergoing massive increases, gas prices are at record highs, shopping for groceries and other essentials is increasing day by day.

This council again mandates major increases to the Saanich budget, such as the cost for salaries and benefits for additional public servants. Is this mayor and council suggesting that the fire department does not have a training officer who could cover their additional training requirement?

And could not current staff cover every single new project mentioned in this budget, including dealing with problem calls? And we need to reduce our vehicle fleet, and leave the major expense of climate change to the province.

Please read Lawrie McFarlane’s excellent article of May 16 regarding the bankruptcy of Newfoundland. Did council consider that the federal PBO suggested that B.C. does not have a stable financial outlook? Did they look at the big picture rather than their insatiable appetite for additional taxes and spending?

Zero-based budgets are not even a figment of the imagination of this mayor and council. They take the easy way out, hire more public servants at an ongoing annual cost of many millions of dollars.

The province needs to deal with these unnecessary municipal deficits; and more than that, Saanich residents need to screw up their courage and elect fiscal conservative council members.

Where is former mayor Atwell when we need him?

H.J. Rice

Saanich