Keep reserve funds for emergencies

Re: City keeps tax dollars in reserve, May 7.

To the Editor,

Re: City keeps tax dollars in reserve, May 7.

No one opposes the city setting aside some savings over and above those mandated by legislation to deal with unanticipated events. All prudent individuals or agencies do this to cover emergencies.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the city referred to these sums as the ‘Rainy Day’ fund.

Beyond such rainy day savings, we as individuals may set aside savings to buy ‘toys’ which we may want but do not need.

Similarly, in the last few years the city has expanded these funds by anywhere from about $2 million to $6 million per year of what is essentially excess taxation.

This has allowed council and staff to indulge in their penchant for things like a convention centre, a new city hall annex, and no doubt soon, a proposed multiplex, with minimal public participation.

Some $30 million went from these reserves to ensure the construction of the convention centre, which now costs an additional $1 million a year to operate.

Without those funds, it is doubtful whether this construction and its accompanying destruction could ever have been undertaken.

While individuals may be permitted the luxury of saving for toys with their own money, it is exceedingly difficult for me to see how this logic extends to the city being allowed to collect excess taxes for their toys.

Fred Taylor is right on target. Reserve funds are for emergencies, not for slush funds. Put a cap on them.

Ron Bolin

Nanaimo