Just say no

Tax increases for non essential improvements should not impact annual tax bill

Regional district board directors were presented with a petition requesting major improvements to Lakehill Road in Kaleden at last week’s RDOS board meeting.

A few weeks earlier, Twin Lakes golf course owner and potential developer Suki Sekhon expressed a desire to see improvements made to Twin Lakes Road.

Both instances involve potentially high costs to make improvements on roads that essentially carry only local traffic – a large tax burden that has potential benefits for only a handful of people.

In the meantime, the regional district budget is up 4.5 per cent over last year, partly because of pressures from other special interest groups looking to move their particular cause forward – no matter what the cost.

Take, for example, the budget increase for Kaleden Recreation Commission that is seeing its budget increase from $58,017 in 2012 to $130, 355  in 2013.

That increase represents an onerous, additional and largely unnecessary tax burden for Kaleden ratepayers. (The money is expected to go with anticipated  joint funding for a $90,000 kitchen upgrade in the community hall.)

A superfluous improvement such as this should be financed through the accumulation of reserves, patiently saved over several budgets, should it not?

It’s time for local politicians to stop pandering to special interest groups and deal honestly with these endless wish lists – even if that comes at the expense of some popularity. After all, a large part of politicians’ responsibility lies in controlling the endlessly upward reach of public budgets.

One aspect of that responsibility surely must also be to educate those who would make endless extravagant demands on taxpayers’ money.

 

Improvements to public property is necessary, obviously, but it should come about through the democratic principles of need, financial responsibility and proper planning, not just because a  local special interest demands it.

 

 

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