A lot of promises will be made during this election season. Candidates who win their seats on October 20 will be expected by voters to follow up their words with real action. If they’ve promised to carry out a project that comes with a price tag, how exactly will that work?
- Municipalities receive authority for their areas of responsibility from the provincial government.
- These areas usually include libraries, parks, community water systems, roadways and parking, among others.
- Municipalities employ staff to look after roads, sewers, fire, police, recycling and garbage programs, transit, parking enforcement, city recreation, public health services, and by-law enforcement. (Source)
- In British Columbia, the Local Government Act and Community Charters address governance issues; the province also controls a municipality’s power to raise revenues and to borrow money. (Source: pgs 24-25)
- In Canada, municipal revenue sources vary by province, are subject to limitations, but are also able to be amended.
- British Columbia municipalities receive revenue from the following categories (see table below): property taxes, area improvement taxes, user fees, development charges, hotel taxes, and advertisement taxes (sign fees). (For numbered notes, please see Source: pg 26.)
The Township’s budget relies on a variety of tax revenues and user fees, on Federal grants, and on loans. It’s not a bottomless pot. To increase our spending, do we negotiate a bigger cut from the provincial government? Should we add another tax to the list like a Land Transfer Tax on the sale of properties, or a sales tax on cannabis, or a tax on businesses, not just commercial properties?
Do we do more with less? That’s often a recipe for disaster, so perhaps we need to do things differently, instead? For example, maybe we need to look for upstream solutions for people experiencing homelessness, so we save money on community policing and healthcare down the road. There are outside-the-box solutions already in place in communities like ours that have proven results. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
What we do need to do is elect a Mayor and a Council that will sit at the table, and work with each other and for all Township residents. We need elected officials to acknowledge that the status quo is not working, and that new ideas and alternative strategies need be identified and implemented. Whether the new Council begs, borrows, or innovates, we need a Municipal government that gets the job done.
Vote STACEY WAKELIN - to get the job done!