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EDITORIAL: Public dollars in limited supply
There will be sad faces at some cultural and youth organizations.
On Thursday, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee shelved some big-budget asks from community groups and largely decided to hold the line on financial assistance.
“We have to be responsible in funding all phases of services to taxpayers,” said director Rob Sawatzky, pointing out that local governments face significant challenges and are trying to ease the burden facing taxpayers.
As an example, the City of Vernon is moving towards a 2014 tax hike of 1.8 per cent for operations (and a further 1.9 per cent for infrastructure).
Now no one around the GVAC table dismisses the importance of the cultural and youth groups. They provide services that add to our quality of life and without their involvement, local government would have to provide these programs at a higher cost.
However, everyone who accesses tax dollars must understand that the economy remains challenging and some residents have lost their jobs or have had wages frozen. Essentials, such as food and electricity, continue to cost more.
Organizations have to be concerned about the perception of asking for too much.
As an example, the Vernon Public Art Gallery was seeking a 3.6 per cent hike to its 2014 operating grant at the same time that it’s lobbying the public to spend millions of dollars on a new facility.
Ultimately, there has to be an acknowledgement by residents and politicians of the vital work cultural agencies do, especially as these groups’ costs also rise.
However, the reality is that taxpayers can’t be everything to everyone.