Rising utility rates are another tax grab

Rising utility rates are another tax grab Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council: The Utilities Consumers' Group heard recently that the wisdom of mayor and council is to again initiate the construction of two new multi-million dollar edifices to h

Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council:

The Utilities Consumers’ Group heard recently that the wisdom of mayor and council is to again initiate the construction of two new multi-million dollar edifices to house your multitudes of bureaucrats.

You claim that this will save considerable energy expenses in the future. Just how many years of energy would the $55 million for a new administrative buildings pay for? Twenty five or maybe even 50, even for our older so-called dilapidated admin building?

This may be logical in your minds, if you were not proposing to raise our taxes and utility rates next year and probably for the next several years thereafter.

Let’s look at the utility rates as reference, since your last year’s annual report already tells us you plan on raising the water and sewer fees in 2014 to pay for your dubious deficit last year.

If one examines this accounting ledger, one sees that the 2013 actuals brought in revenues of $7.046 million and had $6.629 million in expenses for these services. That more than quantifies your own bylaw which states that these services must pay 100 per cent of the costs. As your own account statement clearly demonstrates, this is accomplished and even results in a surplus!

Where the smoke and mirrors appear in this creative number-crunching is in the next line item where transfers to reserves are made. This amount for $1.035 million now places this account in a deficit position for which you now want to tack on to our next year’s water and sewer bills.

Just because you have been doing this for a millennium now, does not make it right!

UCG could agree that the surplus for this account be placed in a future contingency fund or reserve, but not to attach an extra million bucks to our utility bills when you obviously have more than enough money for this rather than build new administration infrastructure.

If you want to increase the water and sewer reserve, then this extra money should come out of general taxation or the federal gas tax transfers or the capital reserves. What are your priorities, new administration building or future water and sewer infrastructure?

To penalize your constituents with a hidden tax grab in the form of unnecessary water and sewer utility reserve increases is an insult to our intelligence.

Roger Rondeau

Utilities Consumers’ Group

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