Tax increases too taxing

Port Alberni property tax and service tax increases have been huge and there have been no serious attempts to reduce, one reader says

To the Editor,

In recent years, property tax and service tax increases here have been huge and there have been no serious attempts to reduce either. Moreover, civic wages, salaries, and benefits have continued to climb, apparently above recent inflation increases.

There’s no escape from this bad situation except for older city taxpayers who wish to defer property taxes and defer the borrowing costs that come from adding six percent per year to their total tax bill until they die or their houses are sold.

All others are stuck in an untenable position. And nobody at city hall seems to care.

What should be done by city council is to freeze city property taxes for three years. Central to doing this, of course, is a three-year freeze on salary and benefit increases for all city staff and management who are obviously quite well off now (unlike many other citizens in this depressed community).

Can’t be done, you say? Well, Penticton, a city of 33,000 people, has done it. That city reduced property taxes by half a percent in 2011, and froze taxes for both 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately, Penticton is the exception rather than the general rule amongst the high-on-the hog communities in B.C.

The situation must change here and elsewhere and now is the time. Public pressure at budget time would help.

Richard Berg,

Port Alberni