(File graphic)

EDITORIAL: Proposed tax increase a tough pill to swallow

White Rock council faces a tough decision when voting on the city’s 2021-2025 financial plan

In a time when individuals and businesses hard hit by Covid-19 are struggling to survive day by day and week to week, talk of White Rock council mulling an increase in municipal taxes must strike many as tone-deaf at best.

While the city is, no doubt, having its own struggles with finances, discussion of a 4.28 per cent tax hike – tacking on an extra $90 for an average residence and $200 for an average business – is unpalatable to taxpayers already living on the edge.

They can be forgiven for asking – as they did at last week during the city’s online finance and audit committee meeting – whether such steps can’t be deferred, or whether some capital projects can’t be delayed, or cancelled outright, until times improve.

Sadly, the answer they received from city chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero is that, even were the project wish list whittled down, the need for a tax increase would exist.

Council faces a tough decision when it finally votes on the 2021-2025 financial plan at the March 29 regular meeting.

As a small seaside town virtually unmatched by other communities in the Lower Mainland, White Rock has long been a destination for holidaymakers and casual visits and a desirable place to live. But this has also made it a focus of high expectations from both visitors and proud residents alike.

The problem is that the appealingly small physical proportions means a correspondingly limited tax base of property owners and businesses to pay for the town’s esthetic upkeep and all the infrastructure maintenance and upgrades necessary from year to year.

Factor in a global pandemic that has been just as devastating for White Rock businesses’ bottom line as for every other jurisdiction and it might not hurt to take another close look to be doubly sure that any projects being addressed this year, of all years, are firmly in the ‘needs’ column, rather than the ‘wants.’

City of White Rock

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

Just Posted

Parking lots were nearly full in White Rock Sunday (April 18) afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock driver cited for vehicle noise akin to that made by a plane

West Beach resident calls for increased enforcement as summer traffic ramps up

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service to begin public consultation late June, early July

Community input, chief constable says, ‘will occur’

SAIL students Patrick Cioata and Nathan Yeung are among five Surrey students from the BC/Yukon Virtual Science Fair who were selected as finalists for the 2021 Canada-Wide Science Fair. (Photo: Surrey Schools)
Surrey, White Rock students win awards at virtual science fair

Nearly half of the winners were from SAIL

Surrey RCMP reunited three stolen puppies with their mom. (RCMP handout)
Puppies stolen from South Surrey home located, reunited with mom

Surrey RCMP said they found the stolen puppies on April 16

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

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

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Most Read