Friday, July 27, 2012

A taxation tipping point?

While locals probably won't be heading to Prince Rupert harbour to dump tea into the ocean, there is it seems a growing rumbling of discontent over the increasing tax load that local taxpayers are having to shoulder over municipal government.

The first stirrings came back in March when the topic of the Emergency Services Building first came up for public debate, a forum that provided for a fair bit of anger over City Spending and perhaps offered up the first warning that the taxpayers are weary of the increasing hit, all while the City doesn't look at cost cutting measures.

It's part of growing theme across the province as municipalities try to come to grips with escalating costs, while facing dwindling revenue streams.

The Northern View seemingly has picked up on that theme over the last few weeks with an article and editorial on the costs of labour and services in Prince Rupert compared to Terrace.

City of Prince Rupert payroll $5.6 million higher than neighbouring Terrace
Difference in Prince Rupert's payroll a bit high

The rebuttal if you will from the City outlined the cost of such services as the Airport Ferry, the Golf Course and a Professional salaried Fire Department (as opposed to the mixed, mainly volunteer based service in Terrace).

City payroll so high largely due to ferry service and fire department

That was followed up by an online poll from the paper to gauge further the state of discontent over the issue.

The online forum and letters to the editor pages, have been the fulcrum of some of that conversation, though to suggest there is an overwhelming surge of rebellion in the air would be a stretch.

Northern View On line poll on City Spending

Northern View Letters: Wages show its time for a taxpayer revolt in Prince Rupert
Northern View Letters: Prince Rupert Council needs to see fiscal reality

Still, there perhaps may be further outbursts from local residents over the tax rate and how the monies collected are spent, however, those same residents will eventually have to come to some kind of decision as to what they wish for services.

Giving some thought as to which ones they maybe able to do without, or which they may wish to have sold off, or contracted out to private concerns.

A bit of feedback that might be quite instructive to Council which will then have to make some tough decisions, balancing the level of service to provide, with that for which the taxpayers are willing to pay for.

Previous items on the North Coast Review on this topic.

Pay days are more rewarding in Prince Rupert

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