Core review a good call

NANAIMO – Re: Motion to review city’s core services fails in close council vote, Dec. 20.

To the Editor,

Re: Motion to review city’s core services fails in close council vote, Dec. 20.

By a 5-4 decision, Nanaimo councillors rejected a core review of city operations.

Several who rejected a review have strong ties to labour, while others, including our mayor, seem to believe that all is well, taxpayers are satisfied and no examination of expenditures is necessary.

I applaud councillors Jim Kipp, Bill McKay, Bill Bestwick and George Anderson for recognizing deficit budgets as unsustainable.

Business as usual – meaning annual tax increases that outstrip inflation and cripple household budgets – simply cannot go on.

These fiscally responsible councillors have urged a re-thinking of city policies while the rest defend the status quo.

Why should taxpayers  pay city employees a 40 per cent premium over private sector employees performing equivalent work?

Is it fair that on top of their substantial wage premium, a taxpayer struggling to pay their own dental or prescription costs also subsidizes the rich plans of public servants?

And lest we forget, as taxpayers we’re also responsible for generous retirement plans padded by that 40 per cent salary overpayment.

Many civil servants will retire much earlier than those in the private sector, and increasing property taxes cripple the ability of non-public workers to save for their own retirement needs.

This is a matter of fairness.

There is simply no reason for public workers to be placed on a pedestal. Their work and their commitment to the community is of neither less nor greater value than their neighbour held hostage by the ability of city council to raise taxes.

Perhaps a fixed budget with no tax increases would focus this council into making the responsible decisions required.

Randy O’Donnell