LETTERS: Do better with taxpayer funds

Editor:

Re: Plea earns budgetary shift, March 16.

Editor:

Re: Plea earns budgetary shift, March 16.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s bragging conflicts with facts.

Compared to most other Metro Vancouver member cities – such as neighbouring Surrey – White Rock’s residential and business property tax rates are far, far higher and have been for many years.

Last year, my property tax bill for a strata residence with an assessed value of approximately $185,000 was just over $1,410. This year, if I was paying taxes to Surrey for a residential property of identical value, I would be billed roughly 40 per cent less: only $862.04.

Starkly contrasting with well-maintained nearby South Surrey, for many years White Rock’s main business areas and major transport routes have had an almost Third-World appearance of neglect and abandonment: buckled sidewalks; overgrown trees; rusting bus shelters; overflowing oil-drum garbage containers; absence of outdoor way-finding signage and maps; lack of bicycle parking stands; and roadway bicycle-lane markings and symbols that have been allowed to erode.

Even if White Rock council votes to approve reducing what are already extortionately high property taxes by a measly couple of per cent for 2016, this cannot possibly make up for their empty-headedly putting the city many tens of millions of dollars into debt late last year – by capriciously voting for the city’s purchase of the local water utility from its previous owner/operator, Epcor, a utility on which many millions of dollars of more public monies will have to be spent in the near future building a couple of huge treatment plants to remove arsenic and manganese from the health-hazard water that the utility currently provides.

Instead of disingenuously lowering property taxes by an amount so small that it will have little to nil meaningful positive consequences for the average taxpayer – council should be taking steps to make sure that, for a change, basic maintenance of the city’s streets and related infrastructure is carried out annually and on an as-needed basis.

Roderick V. Louis, White Rock

 

 

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