Re: Larger municipalities, larger costs (Letters, Jan. 10)
Amalgamation Yes doesn’t advocate any particular model for future structure of municipal governance, however we believe in an objective evaluation of the merits of amalgamating some of our 13 separate municipalities and we have some facts to support us.
Contrary to the letter writer’s assertions, a review by Amalgamation Yes shows conclusively that larger municipalities don’t necessarily cost more money.
Surrey, with a population of 482,000 compared to the Capital Regional District total of 349,000, collected $259 million in general municipal taxes in 2012, compared to our combined $314 million.
Clearly with Surrey at $545 per capita municipal tax compared to a range of $867 to $1,370 for our larger communities in the CRD confirms we are overtaxed. And worse, our local politicians have clearly stated they intend to keep costs escalating with annual property tax increases that exceed the rate of population growth.
The cost of supporting four local core councils is $965,000 while Burnaby’s cost are only $566,000. Our municipalities pay 21 employees over $150,000, and they only need 15.
Do we really need 13 fire chiefs? Even if amalgamation didn’t necessarily save money for the same cost of seven police chiefs, we could put 15 more constables on the streets.
Clearly there is good reason to support at least some degree of amalgamation. At the very least, an in-depth analysis overseen by the province is warranted to provide the public with unbiased information; however the province will only undertake such a review if there is public support.
That is why Amalgamation Yes is encouraging all CRD municipalities to place a public opinion question on their ballots.
Board member of Amalgamation Yes