Mayor and counsellors gouge rather than serve
Open letter to Mayor Bev Buckway and city council:
Last year, the Utilities Consumers’ Group made a submission regarding the continual trend of the past two elected councils, to which the majority of you have belonged, to raise taxes and utility rates every year.
Council said our information was presented with too short notice in order to respond for the 2007 tax year, but you would take this information into consideration when deciding next years’ budget.
Now we see the administrative budget report is to continue with an even greater increase trend, a whopping 10.5 per cent (7.5 per cent taxes and three per cent utilities).
Will this once again be a fundamental case of lip-service by city council?
The consumers’ group fully understands that city budgets struggle with the provision of funds for basic services as well as improvements to the quality of life of the citizens.
Finding this delicate balance without continually raising taxes and rates is your responsibility.
To find such balance you cannot continue to gouge taxpayers and ratepayers or leave our basic needs under-serviced.
Many Whitehorse citizens struggle with paying for the simple basic supply of essential services and certainly cannot afford to pay for the frills that, by the way, should be left to private enterprise or businesses.
From the amounts of money this city budgets every year, it is beginning to appear that many of our dollars do not reach intended targets — too much of this money ends up with the building of edifices and ivory towers for the elite, and with excessive planning, reports, meetings and a top-heavy management.
This trend leads to a dysfunctional administration of taxpayers’ money.
As the decision makers, it is your obligation to restrain all spending and thus your bureaucracy whose primary goal it is to feed the corporation more dollars.
You should also consider reining-in unions, which most often make exorbitant demands that tend to far exceed those in the private sector.
The consumers’ group supports and respects the administration and workers of Whitehorse, but raising our taxes and utility fees each year demonstrates that these employees also have to pull their share in controlling the costs of running and maintaining our city infrastructure.
Since taxes and utility rates increased by five and three per cent respectively last year, the consumers’ group suggests there be no increase for 2008 with a more modest two per cent increase projected for 2009 and 2010.
Use the new growth income to pay for increases in costs for essential services and cull some of your pet projects, like buying and fixing the old Canadian Tire store to house yet more bureaucracy.
What is wrong with the municipal services building we now have? How much have you spent giving city hall the 20th makeover in the last couple of months?
What citizens need to see is a council with the intestinal fortitude to keep a check on the purse-strings, as you were elected to do.
Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group, Whitehorse