The following social media post was shared with me. While not all issues voiced warrant a response, this particular one does. Town Staff works hard to ensure the best interests of our citizens are looked after through effective budgeting.
Here is the post in question followed by my response.
The report referenced by Myrna Johnson is BC Municipal Spending Watch 2017 10th Edition: Trends in Operating Spending, 2005 – 2015, published October 25th, 2017 by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
Regarding this report a few things must be taken into consideration.
This report compares expenses only, not offsetting revenue. Expenses have increased, that is correct. Revenue has also increased, thus negating most of the expenses. If it were only expenses the Town of Creston would have seen a rise in tax rates in order to cover this. We have not witnessed any abnormal rise in tax rates over the last 10 years. This is evidenced by our standing in the middle of all other municipalities in terms of access tax rates and tax burden.
As a matter of fact, Total Residential Property Taxes And Charges for the Town of Creston have fallen below the provincial average each and every year for the last 10 years. The chart below shows this with provincial averages in grey (with amounts) and the Town of Creston in dark red. Looking at this, one could say Town Staff has done a fantastic job of ensuring its citizens tax burdens remain as low as possible while continuing to build and make infrastructure improvements. Well done!
You can access the Local Government Tax Rates & Tax Burden information from the BC provincial website and look over them yourself. I have a printed copy in my campaign office and will gladly walk you through the spreadsheet if you come and see me.
Our Director of Finance & Corporate Services, Steffan Klassen addressed the CFIB after the publication of this report, addressing inaccuracies. One such inaccuracy is that although municipalities don’t get to negotiate the cost of policing with the province, they have a choice in the number of officers hired. While incorrect, this is their reason to include these costs in their reporting.
Another important factor to consider is during the period of study, the Town of Creston took on RCMP policing costs, West Creston Fire Protection, as well as Lease-in; Lease-out (LILO) costs. One cannot just look at expenditures alone. They need to be taken into consideration alongside revenues. With LILO as one example, the revenue the town receives is much greater than the expense.
CFIB makes the following promise to small businesses, “We advocate for you, the Canadian independent business owner, and fight for fairer taxes, laws and regulations that will promote your success. Stronger small businesses mean a stronger Canada.” Many of their publications view taxation as harmful to businesses and tell the story from a certain perspective for their membership.
Local governance is seldom as easy and simple as one might believe. There are a multitude of factors which must be taken into consideration when making strategic decisions for the growth of our community. Not only are these topics complex, they must also be questioned with a strong understanding of “why” we are making these choices. They often work in concert with many other decisions being made with the best interests of our Town’s longevity. Decisions made today do so with a focus on the bigger picture.
Before one makes this type of public statement, I strongly encourage them to contact me personally. My contact information is widely available.
Cell: 250 428 6506
You are also encouraged to come see me in person. My schedule is posted online on the Town of Creston website. Between now and October 20th (election day) you can also visit me at my Official Campaign Office across from the post office. Monday – Friday (10am – 5pm), Saturday (10am – 2pm)
If you would like more information, sign up to receive my email updates.