I have seen surprisingly little comment in the media about White Rock’s outrageous 2022 tax increase.
For the information of the readers it is 5.24 per cent.
I have seen public demonstrations protesting substantially lesser hikes in the past.
Indeed, the whole term of the current council has been characterized by extraordinarily high tax increases. Cumulatively, over the past four years the increase in our property taxes has been a ridiculous 22.5 per cent!
The annual spending has increased by $4,863,000 since 2018. This was despite:
(1) receiving $3,769,000 from the province in COVID-19 relief (Surrey, which is 30 times bigger only got $15 million);
(2) taking almost $2 million from capital reserves; and
(3) gaining an extraordinary amount of new taxation and building permit fees from the new condos built in the town centre.
In past years, the amount of new taxation from the condos alone would have been sufficient for a near-zero tax increase, particularly in light of the COVID relief from the province.
Questionable staff increases, such as hiring an Economic Development Officer in 2020, with no appreciable results so far, and a grant writer (added at the last minute this year) serve only to increase taxes.
On the revenue side, giving away free parking has benefited Surrey dog walkers, while White Rock taxpayers continue to be subjected to annual increases in parking decal fees. Paying $50 for a 50 cent decal cannot be deemed a benefit.
It is time to get tough on spending, but the current mayor and council have proven they are incapable. We need a change.
Wayne Baldwin, White Rock