District of West Vancouver has been quoted saying that the property tax increase for West Vancouver is proposed to be 4.48%.
But this statement ignored approved utility increases ranging from nearly 9% down to 5%, including utilities. With utilities, the tax increase is 5.2%. This is well above the rate of inflation of 1%. Yet to be factored included are School Taxes and TransLink.
Property tax & utilities increases for many years have now been well above the rate of inflation. Is this an appropriate increase when many in our community are facing difficult and challenging times from both a health and economic point of view?
What should concern residents is also the increase in costs of 6.3%. This is largely due to spending $4 million of the extraordinary one-time $5 million COVID Safe Restart grant.
The letter to Chief Administrative Officers from the BC Government spells out quite clearly the eligible uses of these funds. It doesn’t say that it can’t be used to cover COVID revenue shortfalls such that property taxes are not increased.
Nowhere does it state that using these funds for site selection for an Arts Centre that has not been approved by residents is an appropriate use of funds.
West Vancouver is spending $1.7 million of these funds received re COVID on various consulting fees associated with Strategic Objectives that have nothing to do with COVID restart or recovery and seem more to do with initiatives that the Mayor and Council are driving which also drive up costs.
Surely even if spending money this way meets the legal requirements for spending such funds it seems not to respect the purpose and spirit with which these funds were provided? This seems disrespectful of the Provincial Government and the taxpayer?
If West Vancouver is spending money this way what are other Municipalities doing with this money?
Bob Musters is a concerned citizen of the District of West Vancouver
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