Alberni hoarding taxpayers’ cash

To the Editor,

In his letter of March 4, Jacques Savard refers to a $1.4 million surplus (to the city)  from the Catalyst tax case.

In fact for the year 2009, Catalyst paid just $1.5 million out of a $4.8 million tax bill.

In 2010, the city budgeted for receiving just $1.5 million again, made cuts based on that amount being received, then levied a 23.6 per cent tax increase on residential taxpayers.

Later Catalyst lost its court case at the B.C. Court of Appeal. Subsequently, it paid its full taxes, plus penalties, for 2009, and its full taxes for 2010.

So, in fact, the city squirreled away at least $3.3 million of our hard-earned money for 2009 (double taxation), and more for 2010.

The company has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, but it’s unlikely that that court will render a decision before 2011 taxes are due later this summer.

Therefore expect Catalyst to pay its full 2011 city taxes.

The result of squirreling away of millions of our money has been unnecessary tax increases and reductions in core services (e.g.,  garbage pickup) and other services.

However, I agree with Mr. Savard’s comments about the $232,000 annual subsidy to the money losing, poorly visited Mclean Mill.

All the letters and actions relating to garbage pickup and pool and other closures stem from the above.

Why residential taxpayers whine about such comparatively minor things when there’s such a huge budgetary surplus financed by us is beyond me.

And my plea to reduce residential taxes  by $1.5 million for 2011 has fallen on deaf ears at city hall.

Richard Berg,

Port Alberni