Re: Garbage fee hike in Saanich a tax grab; Municipal tax hikes not sustainable (Letters, June 26)
I am concerned about two consecutive letters stirring public anger with misleading comments.
Believe me, I am no fan of this Saanich council, but such rants weaken the credibility of all of us critics.
“Garbage fee hike a tax grab.” To begin, that is an oxymoron. Taxes are a percentage of a value of an item. Fees are set by the cost of providing that specific service. So, this is not “sneaking a tax increase”.
It is only going to cost more for those who put out more than an average amount of garbage. The reason the total cost for Saanich is higher is the cost of running two processes, to save space in the landfill.
There is still a debate about whether that goal is worth the cost now, but that is the answer.
“Why do we have to pay rental forever? Why can’t we just buy them once?” Those questions have also been answered clearly in the brochure. The varying annual fees for different size carts are a way of charging based on volume.
Her suggestion of “buying” the cart does not meet the goal of the program, nor does it allow for upsizing or downsizing when your family changes, or when you move (the carts stay with the house).
Then comes “Municipal hikes not sustainable” from a writer who alleges his property taxes increased by 34.4 per cent.
There is something about his property that is very unusual, compared to the averages. The average for the rest of Saanich is about half that percentage over those years.
Several possibilities: Our gross taxes are reduced by fixed size grants, so if the grants stay the same, the net will increase more than the gross ( but still not 34.4 per cent).
Also, if your home rose in value the same as the Saanich average, your will experience the average increase. However, there will be a tax shift from those whose values rose less, or went down, transferred to those whose value rose more than average. Annoying, but it indicates that you made an income-tax free capital gain that others did not.
I share his anger on sewage treatment costs, but let us keep in mind that Saanich residents voted very strongly for an NDP MLA that stated clearly before the election that she was in favour of the plan. I also am suffering from her lack of protest on our behalf.