Eight per cent good but what took so long?

Alberni’s city council has finally pared the proposed residential tax increase to eight per cent but we have to ask: what took so long?

After numerous public meetings, Port Alberni’s city council has finally pared the proposed residential tax increase to a single digit — eight per cent.

While we appreciate all the public consultation meetings over the city’s five-year financial plan, we have to ask: what took them so long?

The initial residential tax rate increase was presented at 13 per cent and the public outcry was swift. In these tough economic times, when our country is still mired in the dregs of a recession, and employment rates have flatlined in our region, the city should have known better.

While the cost of living in Port Alberni may be attractive to people looking to relocate, the residential tax rates are fast becoming an albatross around our collective necks.

It is time for the city to take a hard look at how it operates, and whether it is doing so efficiently.

Earlier this year a strategic plan was unveiled for the city, laying out priorities on various levels. Is it enough? Or is it too ambitious? We feel the jury is still out on it.

We agree there are capital projects that this community needs that go beyond the usual sewer and road infrastructure upgrades. But we don’t need them all at once. And certainly not at the expense of the people who live here.

The city must pass a balanced budget by mid-May; rather than sit back and wait for the painful process to begin again in a year, we need to take a hard look at our community and what we want for it right now.

* Alberni Valley News