In the 2017 byelection, Ken Christian asserted that the city was very efficient and that there was no way increases in taxes could be avoided.
Fast forward a year and there was a pipeline explosion, creating the need to curtail natural gas consumption.
Lo and behold, the city has reduced thermostat settings to cut back its consumption of natural gas. Given that we pay money for our gas usage, could it be that lowering thermostats will save the city money?
It is a small example to be sure, but how many others are available if circumstances cause us to look?
We are so backward in the way we plan city budgets that it amazes me that we aren’t paying even higher taxes.
Council should not be in the budgeting process except to tell administration how much money it has to operate.
Administration should decide how to allocate that spending.
Give administration the incentive to look at savings opportunities as it sure hasn’t had one for the last 20 years.
We have heard lame excuse after lame excuse about why taxes need to rise and I am tired of it.
We cannot compare our situation to other municipalities because that bar is far too low.
Growth of the city is not a reason, either. If the city is growing, so, too, is the tax base and new growth shouldn’t bring a cost to the city because the infrastructure in the new areas is paid for by the developer, not the city.
The next fallacy in the excuse department is the strain on existing infrastructure. The city charges development cost charges, in theory to offset the strain, but those funds are not used to pay down infrastructure debt.
Put that money where it belongs and see if we can realize some savings.
A number of candidates in the October civic election cited social issues as top priority.
I think most people will agree with this, but the problem is that the fix requires money.
Get the city budget under control and maybe then the money can be found.
If we continue to do things the established way, then nothing changes and, down the road, the city becomes unaffordable to live in — not because of house prices, but because of the cost of ownership.