(AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

(AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

EDITORIAL: Port Alberni tax debate will be painful

Tough choices are ahead for municipal politicians

When Port Alberni City Council announced that next year’s taxes could be at least 10 percent to help make up for the cuts hastily compiled in order to make budget in the early weeks of the pandemic, the public hue and cry was loud. With the economy at a standstill and thousands of people out of work—some temporarily, some permanently—no one wanted to hear that their taxes might be going up in the double digits next year.

Lost in the noise was the fact the city did a 180-degree turn in cutting $800,000 from its budget to keep the 2020 increase to 1.1 percent, and doing it in a very short period of time. There was no way they would have been able to keep it to zero this year, and they were unable to offer a tax deferral—that kind of decision is not within the city’s purview.

The hard reality is recovery is going to be painful for everybody: difficult decisions are going to have to be made, and the city will have to look internally as well as externally for efficiencies.

If the public doesn’t want to pay higher municipal taxes, they will have to put up with cuts to service from the city. What that will mean is difficult to see right now. Municipalities are not able to run deficits; their annual budgets must balance.

There was opposition to different proposals the city brought up for debate during this year’s budget process, but few people spoke up as to what they feel is important for the city.

Economic recovery is a given, but also a huge unknown as we are not through the coronavirus pandemic yet. Everything from industry to tourism is up in the air, and no one knows what they will look like when they land.

Maintaining infrastructure always seems to be pushed aside because it is so expensive. However, the city’s infrastructure, such as roads and sewers, is vital.

Instead of decrying what we don’t want, it’s time to tell city council what we do want going forward. We must do this creatively, with a mind to long-term resilience—not short-term repair.

Council now has a year to consider the budget for 2021, and the public has the same amount of time to let them know what is important to them. This will also be a time for the present city council to truly put their mark on their term in office.

— Alberni Valley News

CoronavirusMunicipal GovernmentPort Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and City of Port Alberni have chosen the Voyent Alert! app for emergency notifications. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni, ACRD unveil new emergency alert system

Program is a response to criticism of botched communication after 2018 tsunami warning

Students from the junior leadership class at ADSS help homelessness and addictions advocate Mark Braunagel load backpacks and bags full of supplies into his truck on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Students collected supplies to be handed out to some of Port Alberni’s most vulnerable people. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni high school students fill backpacks to help city’s homeless

Junior leadership students embraced service project, said teacher Mike Roberts

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
ACRD, City of Port Alberni receive $4 million for COVID-19

Municipalities have until end of 2021 to allocate funding

The site of the former Arrowview Hotel, on Second Avenue and Athol Street, as of Jan. 14, 2020. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni pressures Arrowview Hotel owner for final cleanup

Demolition finished in June 2020 but site still full of construction material

West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni received some good news about an expansion to its emergency department on Jan. 15, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

Most Read