A bouquet to city administration for coming up with a much saner way of handling the annual budget process, as outlined in our page 2 story.
Granted, in recent years it has been entertaining to watch mayor and council get just a little frayed at the edges during the marathon – shouting matches, room cleared to let people cool off – but that was little compensation for making me sit through hour after hour of too frequently shambolic proceedings.
If the proposed system works as it should, I will be spared that – for which I am grateful.
But – you knew there was one coming, didn’t you? – I have a problem.
And that is the assumption there will be a tax increase to a maximum of 2.5 per cent.
In all the years I have been in this job, that has been a constant theme, that there must be a tax increase.
And this year, more than any other, there is absolutely no reason for one.
As you will have read in our front page story, assessed values in all taxation classes are up, some way up.
Based on last year’s tax rate, the increased assessed values translate to an extra $4.5 million from major industry, $1.06 million from light industry, $700,000 from business/other and $106,000 from residential.
For a grand total of $6.36 million.
So council can decide to keep tax rates the same as they were last year for all classes and haul in six million plus more than last year.
Given that, how could it justify raising our taxes?
Now, I concede the memo that outlines the plan and suggests the tax increase was written on December 12, before the new assessed values were known.
So I remain hopeful that, armed with this new information, administration and council can come down with a budget that freezes tax rates and still allows them to back their pet projects.
PS: Imagine my shock and horror after discovering the city had sent a letter to the province regarding a “Conversation Officer” for Kitimat!
What, the city wants someone to listen in on our chats at the local coffee shop? Big Brother indeed.
Fortunately the minister turned down the request – as well as the one for a Kitimat-based conservation officer.