It is as we suspected. It seems to us that the last budget meeting was a well scripted play put on for the amusement of councillors, with participation of the gallery as added entertainment. As we see it, the white hatted Councillors rode up on their respective hobby horses, verbal guns blazing, and ran the black hatted staff out of town, because the proposed budget was highway robbery, all to the applause of assembled townsfolk.
But we think there is a twist in the plot – what the audience doesn’t see until the end of the drama is that the sherriff’s office is in cahoots with the stage coach robbers. Why do we think this? Because the new budget draft (very quickly arrived at) has come in exactly as it always has – carrying off exactly the increase from assessment growth and giving not a penny of it back to the taxpayer by way of a rate reduction.
We expected a budget much like last year with an increase equal to the assessment increase so the “tax rate” can stay the same because this is the way this administration works. But this time, perhaps because of increased scrutiny, they staged a big increase so that taxpayers would complain but then would breathe a sigh of relief when the increase was reduced, in a dramatic “high noon” showdown, from a total of 12.3% to 8.6%. They hope we will not think about the fact that 8.6% is still a heist. They still cannot explain why they need this much money, more every year, to run this small cow town.
Do they think we are idiots? [BTW Yes, they do. we voted them in didn’t we? Are we going to repeat our mistake? ww]
PS. The ratepayers group has come out with a new circular talking about revenue neutral assessment. We’ll be discussing that next. Stay tuned.