As the municipal elections come our way I would like to urge my fellow voters and taxpayers to make sure they talk to each candidate about issues and challenges we face as a community.
A very popular issue is always taxes especially to our citizens on a fixed income or low income.
I would like to take the readers back to a story in the Sept. 30 Trail Times “Cities oppose new spending watchdog” a hot topic at the UBCM convention. A real short version of this is the province plans to create a municipal auditor general. The most important sentence in the story was one by a Cowichan Valley delegate that stated, “This whole thing is driven by an agenda of the business community to have someone on the inside to bedevil the local governments on their taxation policies.”
All of us are aware of the Celgar/Castlegar tax issue as well as the other pulp mills in B.C. regarding taxes. Business has been lobbying the government to put a cap on the amount they have to pay as business feels that their viability is in danger.
Why this matters to us in Trail is that the City of Trail currently collects 63 per cent of its taxes from Teck and has a long-term goal of reducing this to 50 per cent. According to the July 2011 amalgamation study between Warfield/Trail this would add $25.50 per year over a 10-year period or $12.75 over 20 years. And reduce tax revenue by $1.26 million a year. The 50 per cent tax rate was set by the Job Protection Commission (JPC) in 1992.
Once again my fellow taxpayers it looks like it might cost you and I a little more money to keep people working.
As of April this year and these numbers are approximate people receiving a Teck pay stub resided; 210 Castlegar, Nelson, Genelle valley etc. Beaver Valley 330, and Rossland 42 or better yet over 50 per cent of Teck employees live outside Trail city limits. Add to the fact that just about all the contractors and employees also do not live in Trail. One needs to sit up on the highway at 6 in the morning and watch the traffic roll in from Genelle and all points north.
Another hot topic is the Downtown revitalization. I used to have this conversation with Sandy Santori when he was the mayor and the problem has intensified. Some of the same problems exist when Sandy tried to deal with it and will be here until the buildings fall in on themselves. My main concern is how much they expect the taxpayer to continue to pay and for what results.
Mayor Bogs is excited about the economic future of our town. Between Teck projects and the dam expansion there will be close to $800 million spent here. These projects will come and go and Trail will not look like much has ever happened, for one simple reason, the supply chain for all this action is in Castlegar.
One just needs to sit for an hour in my driveway in Glenmerry and watch the truck traffic. Every gravel truck from Genelle to Kaslo is here working, I wonder if they are buying any tires or fuel here. Ditto for Castlegar Ready Mix (CRM) but I forgot CRM has a gravel pit on Casino road so they can load the trucks and pup trailers with gravel and pound the hell out of Bay Ave so that the City of Trail taxpayer can pay Selkirk paving to fix it.
One more thing, Beaver Valley Investments has been hauling out of upper Sunningdale, maybe we should ask our City of Trail representative at the RDKB about how much support he gets on issues like the recent reno at the RDKB office from our neighbours in the Beaver Valley.
You want a vibrant downtown core? Once the City of Trail stops making everyone else wealthy we hopefully can have a downtown to be proud of.