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LETTER: Tax hike highlights municipal waste

I read in the Goldstream Gazette that View Royal residents are getting a 4.5 per cent tax hike this year.

I spent two terms in municipal council in my hometown in Alberta so I am somewhat familiar with municipal financing and budgets.

The tax hike in itself is part of life, costs go up, but my reason for writing is the “perception” of frivolous spending by council that makes a tax hike hard to swallow. Two particular areas of example are:

The View Royal Public Safety facility currently has three separate and very expensive display signs on the property: A metal facia sign saying “View Royal Public Safety Building”; a full electronic message board also repeating the same “name of the facility”; and this one gets me the most, an elaborate logo fully illuminated with, wait for it, the names of all the trucks kept in this facility, ie: Engine # Brush # Rescue #, etc. Absolutely ridiculous. No other fire hall in the region has such signage. The fire chief pulled one over council on this one.

The gardens situated in the medians throughout town especially on Island Highway. As many as a half dozen workers cleaning up the flower beds many times throughout the year (and blocking traffic during rush hour) in what appears to be tending to “annual” plants instead of perennial plants. Not sure about this one, but it seems like there are a lot of staff constantly tending to these features. Maybe something with less maintenance could be in order?

I simply outline these two examples of the “optics” that we taxpayers see when we travel throughout the town. It seems like wasted monies spent, but as usual we have to pay the bills.

Perhaps the various committees could each be asked to trim their existing budgets by 4.5 per cent and see what the department heads come back with?

Chris Benesch

View Royal