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LETTERS: Former mayor’s criticisms less constructive and more constructed

Editor:

Re: Taxpayers deserve better, April 1 letters

Although Mr. Baldwin’s letter, published on April Fools’ Day, reflected some serious information, it was not without error. Furthermore, his criticism of the possible increase in taxes in White Rock lacked the relevance one would expect from a person of his experience.

First, he states, “A tax increase of 4.8 per cent (not 4.28 per cent) is just too high.” Is Mr. Baldwin saying that the proposed 4.28 per cent increase is acceptable but 4.8 per cent, which is not being proposed, would not be? Or is his statement just poorly written?

Mr. Baldwin then criticizes the council for “poor financial management” by listing revenue sources. But management is about what you do with funds not about collecting them; therefore, the only relevant criticism he levies is to say increased expenditures on park staff was unnecessary. This is, at best, an unsubstantiated opinion, especially in light of the climate emergency we are facing where more and more violent storms are damaging our public spaces and private property alike.

Additionally, Mr. Baldwin criticizes the council for not taking advantage of another form of revenue: pay parking, however, the council acted on recommendations from the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, one of our community advisory bodies, groups that Baldwin had a reputation of ignoring. Free parking was supported by the Business Improvement Association, the South Surrey – White Rock Chamber of Commerce and Marine Drive businesses. We’re in a pandemic. Listening and providing for the economic needs of people and businesses is sound fiscal management.

Constructive criticism always has its place, but constructed criticism is inevitably flawed. Reduced taxes means reduced services. Mr. Baldwin kept his tax increases lower by reducing services such as garbage collection for businesses and residents in multi-family housing. Is this sound financial management?

Criticisms of a potential tax increase of $90 a year (about two takeout coffees a month) on million-dollar homes should assess what services this would provide. Let’s work together and be constructive for the good of the community we share.

Stephen Crozier, President, Democracy Direct Society

City of White RockLetter to the Editor