To the Editor,
Well here we are again, Port Alberni City Council is proposing a 5.1 percent tax increase, more than two-and-a-half times the current cost of living. This at a time when many taxpayers are having to make decisions over whether to eat or pay the bills.
I think we would accept an increase at the cost of living. City costs must be controlled to get there and at the same time needed work must be done. I have said many times, this city has enough revenue, ($37,389,474, the 2019 budget), to do what it is supposed to do.
It is great to see council reviewing the budget and questioning the spending, but their review is only on 25 percent of the budget. Salaries account for around 75 percent of the budget. Therefore this is the area that requires most scrutiny. Right now it appears council is spending close to 100 percent of their time on the 25 percent, and actually want to increase staffing by close to two percent.
We have a city of around 18,000 residents with around 6,200 residential taxpayers and a city staff of around 240. Has council asked the tough questions? “Do we need this level of staffing?”, “Are we getting the best value/efficiency for the $28,000,000 spent?”
Remember one staff position is equal to more than five percent of the proposed 2020 budget increase. At the very least the council should implement a hiring freeze so that the tough questions can be asked and answered.
I like that we have well paid people in our city, but there is a limit to what the taxpayers should support.