To the editor,
I am astonished by how out of touch the majority of the city councillors are with the city’s taxpayers right now.
With many Nanaimo businesses and their employees in a situation of barely holding on right now as they attempt to survive and recover from COVID, they are sitting around a council table brainstorming on how to spend more money, not to provide the badly needed relief that Nanaimo taxpayers are looking for.
The cavalier comments by Coun. Don Bonner that there is nothing preventing the city from funding new initiatives that are clearly outside of the city charter and a duplication of services are breathtaking in their ignorance that continued tax increases well in excess of Nanaimo’s cost of living index are unsustainable.
Rather than approaching the 2021 budget from a starting point of imposing a minimum of a three-per-cent increase on city taxpayers, I would suggest that you focus on looking at ways to reduce or maintain taxes level and still maintain basic services at the same time.
As a sign of good faith, perhaps the councillors who are supporting all of these increases and projects should publicly volunteer to cut their wages by three per cent for the balance of 2020 and 2021 to show solidarity with the citizens of Nanaimo.
Doug Johnston, Nanaimo
To the editor,
I was dismayed and disappointed to read that Nanaimo city council is already thinking tax increase for next year’s municipal budget. With continued record unemployment, struggling businesses, predictions of economic recovery taking several years, rising COVID-19 rates, this is our new ‘normal.’ Why, then, oh why, is the council even considering an increase? At times like this, a starting point of even three per cent is just not warranted, especially after this year’s 4.5-per-cent increase. And that’s before even looking at possible reductions in property assessment values. While I applaud the city for being responsible and conducting multi-year financial planning, that plan needs revision so it reflects current economic conditions.
Many families (read taxpayers/voters) have had to drastically re-structure their financial situation. With severely reduced income, many have deferred or even put off needed expenditures like children’s eyeglasses.
We’re already seeing cost increases in basics like food, clothing, and footwear. This is not a time to think about pet projects or adding staff. If a reduction is not palatable, consider a net zero increase, or at least limiting the increase to inflation, which the Bank of Canada has forecast to be 0.6 per cent.
C’mon, Nanaimo city council. Remember where the money comes from and, if we’re truly ‘in this together,’ how about doing your part by re-thinking any more tax increases?
Kenn Hample, Nanaimo
The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.