No, it isn’t just Wolfville. It is spreading like a virus through even small towns in Nova Scotia. There is a pandemic of spending as if there were no tomorrow. We think our municipal leaders [we use the term loosely] go to these conferences and pick up the germs of language and method to bring back and infect local governance. We are not alone in being dissatisfied. Take for example this letter to the editor of the Chronicle Herald of June 24th.
Do more with less
My municipal tax bill for 2007-08 reflects an increase of 10 per cent; for 2008-09, 1.5 per cent (election year); and 2009-10, nine per cent.
The rate of inflation (CPI) for this period was under two per cent in Nova Scotia. There have not been any ratepayers’ meetings or communications to residents to inform them of this extremely large tax increase. Most of us don’t have water, sewage, sidewalks or streetlights, and we have a volunteer fire department. Our taxes are increasing at an alarming rate.
The population of Clare is declining; it went from 10,000 to approximately 8,000. At least 80 houses are for sale, as people are moving out — and no wonder with the high tax rate.
We are over-governed with eight councillors. Five would be ample. Why do we need a councillor for every 1,000 people?
In early June, Clare sent six people to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting at a plush resort in Whistler, B.C., at a cost of at least $20,000. These FCM meetings are geared towards larger urban centres, and are of little value for small communities like Clare. It is a paid vacation, folks. If we sent two or maybe three, and then they wrote a report on their findings, it would not be so bad.
Council needs to tighten its belt and do more with less, as we just can’t afford any more excessive tax increases.
Gerard Theriault, Church Point
We sympathize with Mr. Theriault. We bet businesses there are suffering too. There is a saying: Take care of the small things and the big things will take care of themselves. It may seem a small thing to take care of the basics, but that’s what we need to do. Get back to simple, straightforward things – infrastructure, policing, basic services and a healthy business environment. And in Wolfville’s case nurturing Acadia. If this isn’t satisfying enough, and if you can’t work FOR the taxpayers instead of against them, then as a CAO or Councillor you need to find another occupation. And may we suggest that this town does not send anyone to the next FCM meeting which is at the Sheraton Centre Toronto and instead wait until the meeting is in Halifax in 2011? Then perhaps we could afford to reinstate the dinner for the volunteer firefighters who are paid nothing for their services.