Deeper issues surround YXE property tax increase

city-logo-2_1With a civic election around the corner there is much discussion surrounding our current administration’s property tax track record.

We have seen annual property tax increases average 5.43 per cent over the current council’s four-year term. During this same period the consumer price index indicates inflation has risen by an annual average of 1.9 per cent.

Anyone seeking civic office who is riding on the representation that they’ll keep increases under the rate of inflation without revealing a road map simply lacks credibility.

There is lots to talk about surrounding this issue.

Culture adds to the city vibe

A report from the World Cities Culture Forum states, “More and more cities now understand that culture will give them the edge in an increasingly globalized world and help their citizens to thrive not just survive.”

Although the focus of the report was intended for global cities, many of the principles are transferable to our growing community. We need to continue to attract a talented workforce.

The report goes on to say, “Talented people want a vibrant urban experience, they want festivals, clubs, art galleries, they want to eat great food and meet interesting people. The energy and character of a city is as important in attracting investment as it is in attracting theatre-goers, and in developing and keeping a skilled workforce.”

How to cover increased operating costs due to expansion

Growth causes strain on city infrastructure; increased demand upon police, fire and health services to name a few. We have not yet been able to properly calculate the true increase in costs that we incur as a result of population increase.

Our administration attempts, but falls short in recovering these costs  through infrastructure levies and property taxes. One solution is to redesign subdivisions to accommodate greater density.

Many more creative ideas are required fill the financial and administrative gaps that will continue to plague our city’s growth.

Meaningful review of operations

It requires strong leadership and a courageous council to investigate and take action to eliminate administrative redundancies and inefficiencies.

It’s easy to simply cut services to reduce costs. It is only through intelligent, skilled management investigation that long term strategies can be developed to build better systems.

I believe that often logic and dollar per hour productivity is overlooked to support the “status quo.”

Let’s get more discussion on these issues. Challenge your ward and mayoralty candidate to provide you with the solutions they offer to these issues.

Posted by Barry Stuart


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