Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Whine, whinge and whatever

The preamble warnings of yet another civic tax increase have started. In today's SP article regarding provincial funding for municipalities it was reported that Saskatoon will only receive the same amount as last year ($29.2 million.) Hardly a surprise given the fact that the province has been vocal for almost a year on holding the line on spending in light of its budget dilemmas. And lets remember how little the cities used to receive from the province prior to 2009.

We have already seen indirect taxation through water rate increases, transit fare increases, parking meter hikes, infrastructure levies and we still have ongoing discussion regarding garbage pickup charges. It boils downs to council looking at needs vs. wants. We need services and, maybe, want extras. At this point council should look at putting on hold projects on River Landing, construction of new recreation facilities, improvements to existing sports venues and everything else that doesn't translate into necessary services to the public.

During the civic election campaign six councillors committed to no tax increase if re-elected. All six councillors were incumbents and knew, or should have known, what was expected from the province. Any decisions on extra spending should have been made with the proviso that they were contingent on increased funding from the province.

I suspect we will just see finger pointing at the provincial government and a lot of rhetoric about why council must increase taxes. The only thing we the public can watch for is whether or not six of our councillors honourably keep their promises.

Et tu Atch?

1 comment:

  1. So I read that Darren Hill thinks he can reduce the need for an increase not by cutting employees.... but have them working better and more efficiently? What a load of crap that is. Did this City just spring up from the a dust bowl or I guess a snow storm or haven't we been around for over 100 years? Even the Mayor was indicating they may have to look at doing snow clearing differently in the future. NO SH!T EXLAX!!!

    Now the government is changing the rules and we are going to have these yahoos in for 4 years instead of 3? The major cost of the elections comes out of our pockets not the candidates. They can spend zero if they want too. It is the cost of having good governance and accountability to the public. Something we need more of not less. And don't spume voter apathy as a reason either. Maybe if it cost more people would take an interest. I for one will be calling my MLA to voice my displeasure.

    Now there is a way to make it a better swallow for me and that is to go on a rotation basis. Half of council gets chosen every second year still 4 year terms. Kind of like what the US senate does. This way continuity is preserved. If we ever have a time where almost or all Councilors are new (given the age and voting history of some of the current members) that is a likely hood, the city could be thrown to the wolves (administration) and then we will see what kind of mess we will be in.

    Back to tax increases I intend on going to council and bringing some sand for those six to sick their heads into if we see an increase over the rate of inflation. I can live with the fact costs don't stay the same, what I can't live with is a council that appears oblivious to reality. And what happen to all the extra property taxes from the growth we have experienced. Isn't it suppose to cover all additional costs of maintenance and operations? We are told the capital stays there to buy more land and provide new services so shouldn't the increase in taxes get the job done?

    I need to go for a run and chill-out:}


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