Mayor Walter Jakeway says the public will not accept a 13.6 per cent tax increase and he wants everyone to flood city hall to voice their displeasure.
After council adopted the residential tax increase, which works out to be a 7.10 per cent tax hike after decreased user fees are factored in, Jakeway attempted to schedule a public forum.
“In two weeks I’d like to have a public forum so the public is able to speak its mind,” Jakeway told council at a financial meeting Tuesday night. “I think they should have a voice.
“It behooves us to do that.”
But Jakeway was met with a wall of resistance.
Council questioned the timing of the meeting and what the structure would look like.
“I’m reluctant to agree until I know what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Coun. Larry Samson.
Coun. Claire Moglove also struggled to understand Jakeway’s intentions.
“Last year we had community open houses prior to the budget, and I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that a total of 20 people came to all three public meetings,” Moglove said. “I’m not sure what you had in mind Your Worship.”
Jakeway said it would be another finance meeting but City Manager Andy Laidlaw explained the financial meetings came to end when council adopted the tax increase, and balanced the budget.
Jakeway responded that it could be a regular council meeting – anything to give the public a chance to speak.
Moglove said the community can speak to council at its regular meetings.
“From my understanding, they already have that opportunity because our delegation procedure would allow for that, would it not?” Moglove said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jakeway said “taxpayers are being screwed” and encouraged everyone upset by the increase to attend the next council meeting and voice their opinions.
“Forget the money, you’re never going to tell the public you’re not going to listen to them,” Jakeway said. “I’d like to have them lined up out the door. Call the city clerk and get on the (delegation) list. Plug up the list.
“If you want change, come and demand change. That’s how the taxpayers create change – otherwise it’s going to be exactly the same thing as last year.”
Anyone who would like to make a delegation at a future council meeting can contact city hall at (250) 286-5700.