OP/ED: Castlegar Budget 2019 - decisions are made by those who show up

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
March 4th, 2019

There’s an old saying – if you don’t show up, then you should shut up.

I think this holds particularly true right now in Castlegar, as a contentious budget debate will be on the table in two meetings this week at the Community Forum – one tonight at 5:30 p.m. and the other Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Bear in mind, there are all sorts of ways to show up when it comes to the city budget process – you can attend the budget meetings, call your councillors, send emails, write letters (to council or to the editor, and if you want to do the latter, please email it to me at khoggan@telus.net ).

This year’s budget has seemed, to me, to be a hotly debated one compared to years past, largely because of the increase it represents, which could be as much as 37 per cent over five years (or seven per cent this year).

Whether you adamantly agree that the increase is necessary, vehemently oppose said increase, or want something in the middle – if you don’t show up and make your wishes known, what you want will be irrelevant.

For a more comprehensive understanding of the city’s proposed increases, the city has posted an FAQ regarding the Infrastructure Investment Levy (see here https://www.castlegar.ca/assets/Uploads/Frequently-Asked-questions-2019-City-Budget.pdf , as well as  here https://www.castlegar.ca/assets/Uploads/Press-Release-City-Budget-February-2019-Revised.pdf , and more budget-related documents may be found here https://www.castlegar.ca/city-hall/informationmaterials/2019-budget/ ).

We’ve seen two city councillors speak up in public opposition to the increase in both the Castlegar Source and the Castlegar News, and several letters to the editor and social media comments both for and against.

I would argue it’s a hot-button topic over city water coolers right now, but my concern is this:

So often, people express strong feelings about taxation, but are nowhere to be found when the actual decisions are made … then act outraged and surprised when the tax bill arrives – in short, when changing it is far too late.

Regardless how you voted, this is YOUR mayor and council, YOUR city, and YOUR taxes … and I urge you to let your decision-makers know what you want to see for Budget 2019.

Decisions are made by those who show up.




Categories: Op/EdPolitics


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