Letter: Why not a budget at or less than the CPI

Since 2002 Saanich taxes (excluding utility bills) have increased 74.06 per cent on the average home

I have attended several of the recent Saanich council meetings which are reviewing the proposed property taxes for the coming year. It is with great concern that I note yet again there is not only an increase proposed, but a 3.25 per cent increase in property tax versus the barely 1.1 per cent increase in the Consumer Price Index to the end of 2015.

This would be less disturbing if it were a one off. But it is not.

Since 2002 Saanich taxes (excluding utility bills) have increased 74.06 per cent on the average home, while during that time, the cost of living went up only 18.6 per cent. This is an incredible disconnect, and cannot be explained away by saying that municipalities use a different basket of goods than the CPI, as was stated by staff at the Feb. 2 budget meeting.  I am a taxpayer who is quite prepared to pay taxes in exchange for value for money.  I am not seeing this.

Saanich should be able to bring in a budget this year at 1.6 per cent or less, as the majority of costs are salary and related items.

Other municipalities seem to be able to see their way clear to a lower number. Currently in Sidney, they are proposing 0.81 per cent, with Victoria proposing 2.05 per cent, including utility fees.

Saanich has also collected additional taxes for a number of years to fund an aging infrastructure, and during the last election we were advised that was soon to be fully funded.

Why are we not beginning to use those monies to help pay for any infrastructure expenses, rather than increasing taxes yet again?

Most councillors ran a campaign which included making Saanich an affordable place to live. If they really believe what they said, they must start being leaders, direct staff, through the CAO, to bring in a budget at or less than the CPI.  Given the 55-plus per cent extra lift to taxes over the CPI since 2002, it is simply not credible that there are no efficiencies to be found.

One method to be considered for developing next year’s budget would be to go through a zero based budgeting process, as is done in Edmonton.

It would also be worthwhile to review the difference between things that are nice to have versus things that are necessary.

Karen HarperSaanich

 

Just Posted

Saanich preschool celebrates 30 years with reunion event

Thousands invited RSVP for Carrot Seed Preschool 30-year celebration

Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

Mark Edward Berton attended Victoria High School and has his grave in Flanders Field

Sidney Museum’s Chief Dan George exhibition sees surge of interest

Four mayors, federal Green leader, Tsartlip reps to attend June 21 opening ceremony

Oak Bay artist co-op highlights autobiographical Snapshots showcase

Snapshots runs from June 4 to 22 at Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave.

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon’s trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

Most Read