Re: "City weighs 6.65% tax hike," Friday, Dec. 7.
Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay and council: After reading the shocking news about council's projected tax increase for 2013, I concluded that anything I might have to say would be ignored. Now I read Jock Finlayson's commentary on how municipal governments are leading the taxation and spending parade, I've concluded every voice that can be raised on this issue should be raised.
So, I ask: How can Port Moody's elected council even think of a nearly seven-per-cent increase in property taxes for 2013?
I know some members of this council have tried to resist some increases in expenses, only to be outvoted. Mayor Clay claims in a local news report that much of the city's budget woes can be placed on previous administrations - so I must conclude he's pointing the finger at himself and three of our current councillors, who have been in those administrations for at least six years. Hopefully they all will have learned by now that they need to be tougher on spending and will have the courage to do that.
I am also concerned about a couple of other things.
From all accounts, councillors have allowed themselves to be distracted from their real responsibilities by flights of fancy, led by our three newest members of council, into areas over which council has no jurisdiction, among them a bylaw banning shark fin soup from our city. The merits of protecting sharks are beside the point. There are better ways than bylaws to put this concern before appropriate authorities with jurisdiction. I don't expect a lawsuit - but the risk of more city costs to pay for a legal defence against such a challenge is there, especially in the wake of the recent Ontario court throwing out Toronto's bylaw.
It also seems apparent from the published budget projection numbers that we taxpayers are paying heavily for the election contributions our local unions have made to many of the councillors who have been more than generous in their approval of increased pay and benefits to city staff.
Also, apparently we are feeling an income pinch which, I suggest, will continue, at least in part because of anti-business attitudes displayed by some councillors.
In light of the recent report on councillor spending for travel to conferences and the like, it also seems apparent that it's too much to ask many members of council to remember that we who pay the taxes are not getting six per cent and seven per cent increases in our incomes and thus should not be subjected to such increases in property tax and other municipal levies.
James Peacock Port Moody