By: Larry Patella
headlines in today’s Fish Wrapper “CITY WILL INCREASE PROPERTY TAX RATE’ is
proof positive that what we have on today’s Vancouver City Council is a group
of Sheep led by the Sheep Herder Mayor Tim “I was against bridge tolls before I
was for them” Leavitt. Where was the discussion about budget cuts? There wasn't
any. To say I am disappointed in Turlay and Stewart who voted with the sheep
herder is an understatement. One can only hope that Turlay has not fallen under
the spell of Burkman.
Theoretically we elect council members to represent us, yet their only solution
to any and all fiscal matters is to raise taxes. They are apparently unaware
that to continually pick the taxpayer pockets is to plunge us deeper into a
recession. My only conclusion to their obscene behavior is they do not have a
clue about how to manage the hard earned tax dollars they pick from our pocket.
They are by their consistent solutions, RAISE TAXES, incapable of performing
their duties as the “CUSTODIAN OF OUR HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS.
Having many years ago sat on the Budget Review Committee, a committee that no
longer exist and one that Mayor “I was against Bridge Tolls before I was for
them” Leavitt, promised to restore, I am acutely aware of the city’s approach
to developing a budget. Their agenda in those days were to not even address
spending cuts. REVENUE Enhancement was the only topic open for discussion. It
appears that nothing has changed. Sad isn't it.
Budgeting is not rocket science. It is simple. you just gather all department
heads together with their prioritized spending plan. Then require them to
justify each and every expenditure. You then create city wide prioritized list
of expenditures and eliminate from the bottom up those they are outside a
Unfortunately our current budget process is just the opposite. Department heads
are allowed to present their spending plan and taxes are raised without much
discussion to meet their budget request. That is why no matter how much in
taxes are picked from our pockets there is never enough.
In case you have not read the entire Fish Wrapper Property Tax Increase
Article, buried near the end of the article on page A2 our hard working council
unanimously agreed to:
a. Raise garbage rate 1.5%
b. A 5% increase on water and surface water rates in 2013 and 2014 along with a
somewhat smaller increase in sewer rates.
c. Increase Monthly utility rates by $2.07 in 2013 and $2.18 in 2014.
d. One part of the article has me confused. It states that the city was helped
by the Fire District 5 and Vancouver Public Schools. Apparently the Fire
District commissions on November 9th approved giving the city a onetime payment
of 1.3 million to pay for 13 fire fighters and the school district agreed to
keep paying for a school resource officer. Apparently the behavior of our
school children require the presence of a policeman. What the article failed to
report is where the hell did the fire district get the 1.3 million or that the
Schools are looking to dig deeper into our pockets with new school tax levies.
Didn't those dollars already or won't they in the future come out of our other
I find it interesting that nowhere in the Fish Wrappers article is their even a
hint of discussion by the council to PRIORITIZE SPENDING or to CUT SPENDING.
Smells like a good old fashioned smoke filled backroom deal that was agreed
upon prior to the public meeting..
I have a few suggestions:
a. Sell the Hilton Hotel it should save us about 4 million a year
b. Privatize the Parking Garages –should save us about 2 million a year
c. Dump the CRC Project – Should save us Billions
d. Reduce or eliminate the city’s automobile fleet – paying mileage is much
e. Disallow No bid contracts – should save us millions
f. Stop Subsidizing Waste Connections –Let them buy their own garbage can
g. Stop subsidizing millionaire developers with property tax breaks
h. Scuttle as the voters have requested Light Rail the Gravy/Crime Train and
curtail C-Tran wasteful spending
i. And last but not lease, each council member should ask themselves this
question before they vote to spend one red cent of taxpayer hard earned money: IF THE TAXPAYER DOLLARS YOU ARE SPENDING WAS YOURS, WOULD YOU VOTE TO DO IT?