Opinion

OUR VIEW: Oh joy, it’s city budget time again

So how much of a percentage tax increase can you stomach? Three? Two? One? None?

Do you think you’re likely to get a zero per cent tax increase? Good, ‘cause you’re not.

After Monday’s deliberations, council was looking at a 2.89 per cent increase but that will likely change.

We all remember last year’s budget which resulted in an attempted tax revolt led by the mayor. What? The mayor? Yes, the mayor.

He’s been fully involved in this year’s budget deliberations and there’s a little less belligerence coming from the mayor. Hopefully, he’s learned he needs to work with city councillors to achieve his legislative agenda. Last year, he got a lesson in democracy when he was on the losing side of a vote for a 3.6 per cent tax increase (7.1 per cent after reduced user fees are factored in). He didn’t take losing gracefully.

The hue and cry that arose from some members of the public was not always the most eloquent but it was heartfelt and vociferous. That’s good.

The bottom line is we need taxes to pay for the services we receive from the city. Last year’s budget was considered a one-time thing in order to re-balance the city’s spending priorities after the loss of the cash cow that was the Catalyst-owned Elk Falls pulp mill. The adjustment has been made and now we’ll see how councillors intend to balance the books this year. All indications are they will have it all wrapped up this week, having started significantly earlier than previous years. And so far, the cacophony of outrage has not appeared...but there’s still time.

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