The playing field is not level

Rossland resident responds to a recent letter to the editor regarding where tax dollars should be spent.

I would like to respond to a recent Letter to the Editor (Where Should Our Taxes Go, Trail Times Jan 29).

In order for taxpayers to have a meaningful discussion of taxes I think it is essential that all levels of government need to be considered.

In B.C. it is unique that all municipal taxpayers are forced to pay for four levels of government. Rural residents in B.C. only pay for three levels of government. Most other jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. have three levels for all taxpayers.

All taxpayers pay their federal and provincial taxes and the rural taxpayers have county taxes and municipal taxpayers pay their municipal taxes.

The local levels can interface and share without overlap.

If we are going to address efficiencies of use of taxpayer dollars we need to consider the whole picture.

Another premise that permeates the letter is the common belief that there is one community that is being preyed upon by the carpetbaggers in the neighbouring communities.

While this is a convenient way to explain the disputes that arise between communities it misses the point entirely. Not all communities have the same ability to pay.

While the author states we can all benefit from the development of facilities, the fact is some communities have a Chevrolet availability to pay and some can afford a Rolls Royce.

For example Rossland, with virtually no non-homeowner tax base, is under the current system for fire protection, being billed $600,000 a year, while other similar sized municipalities are spending $200,000 dollars a year.

If, while looking for ways to make best use of limited tax dollars, the council in Rossland decides that paying triple what other jurisdictions are paying for a service is not sustainable on a Chevy budget does that make Rosslanders a bunch of carpetbaggers looking for a free ride or is it simple economic reality.

Before the author encourages Trail council to play hardball with “our bridge” it might be worth noting that all of the people of Warfield, Rossland, Rivervale and Oasis under the inter-municipal sewage agreement are paying their share of the $4,000,000 bill toward that bridge.

It is also interesting that the only community that benefits from crossing the Columbia is Trail. If under the ongoing long range master plan for sewage treatment a decision was made to put a new plant on the west side of the river there would be no need to pump any effluent in the inter-municipal system across the river.

If the objective of the letter is to create dialogue, cooperation and putting all taxpayers first, perpetuating the philosophy that there is a Santa along the river with a bag full of goodies and neighbouring communities that are nothing but a bunch of carpetbagging freeloaders is not very helpful in moving toward that very worthwhile objective

The playing field simply is not level.

Bill Profili, Sr

Rossland