Editorial: Modest tax increase necessary in Penticton

Council has been putting off a tax hike for too long and the cupboards are getting bare

After three years without an increase in the City of Penticton’s tax requirement, there is speculation 2014 is when the long deferred tax increase will hit.

While many residents are genuinely concerned even a small tax increase will cause hardship, we feel fear mongering is creating additional anxiety for those struggling to pay their bills.

The truth is that a two per cent increase from the city will cost the average taxpayer about $26 per year, according to chief financial officer Colin Fisher.

If a tax increase is used to fund unreasonable wage increases, we can voice our displeasure at the polls next November. And with the city considering not filling two vacant firefighter positions, it’s out of line to give the city’s administrative staff a wage increase higher than was negotiated for the unionized workforce.

Keeping tax increases to a minimum should always be the ultimate goal of our political leaders, but at what cost? How long can the city limit infrastructure work to urgent upgrades only before the city begins crumbling at our feet?

It’s like maintaining your home; when your roof starts leaking, you can repair it a couple of times, but sooner or later you need a new roof.

It is important that our roads, sidewalks, sewer system and parks are maintained at a satisfactory level for both residents and visitors.

And if the city can’t supply needed services like road maintenance or keep the fire and police departments at full staffing levels, it is time to consider a small tax increase now — not wait until the city’s reserves are depleted and there is a multimillion dollar bill for all the deferred work.

Everyone, including council members who are up for election next year, would be happy with a zero tax increase. But always choosing the cheap alternative is going to leave you with a very leaky roof.

 

 

 

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