Areas where the CVRD needs to trim the fat
This is an open letter to the CVRD directors in regards to the current services provided by the CVRD and the funding proposal for affordable housing.
These are few recommendations to review for the current services that will assist in reducing the taxes paid by the residential property owner.
1) The CVRD provides approximately 180 community services. These services provide “budgets” to the CVRD directors that when approved sets the base for property taxation. Since these service budgets continually increase it is time to have an independent auditing agency review each one of these departments to search out where efficiencies and labour usage can be improved. Certainly, with the advancement in both computer and machine technology there are efficiencies to be gained and budgets lowered.
2) That the CVRD remove itself from anything to do with local tourism. The provincial government has a department called Tourism B.C. that employs over 100 people who are located throughout the province. These employees are tasked with consulting and liaison with local businesses to provide them with the expertise required to get proper exposure on all platforms of the internet. There is no need for the CVRD to be duplicating work that is already available from the provincial government.
3) That an independent financial review be made on all compensation paid to both administrators and employees of the CVRD and that compensation be compared to similar work provided in the private sector. This information shall be made available to the public through both the CVRD office and local press. If the CVRD compensation package is 20 per cent or higher than the private sector package than this difference shall be dealt with in the next set of negotiations. This review will also reveal what work should be contracted out to contractors.
4) That the CVRD donations to private/volunteer organizations equals that which is raised by those organizations through the organization’s efforts of public fundraising.
5) That all industrial taxes that were placed on property taxpayers be removed immediately. The moving of the industrial tax from industry to private property taxes was an experiment and that experiment should have ended years ago. It’s time to have industry pay their fair share for the CVRD services that are provided them.
6) The CVRD to disclose all funding received from provincial and federal governments and disclose where that funding is being allocated.
With regards to the CVRD latest proposal to involve the district in affordable housing there are a number of issues that have to be again addressed.
First and foremost this is not an issue that the CVRD should involve itself in.
1) As stated numerous times over the course of the last several weeks both the federal and provincial government tax us – the taxpayer, to provide these services. If the CVRD directors are not satisfied with either level of government in supplying affordable housing then it is their job to hold those people accountable. If the system is broken, meaning that MPs in both levels of government are not doing what they have promised, then fix the system through information released to the general public — the taxpayer. The taxpayer can vote these people out of office.
2) The CVRD ‘s proposal states:
Establishing a tax to raise $765,000 per year to be managed by the Cowichan Housing Association to leverage and attract funding from the federal and provincial governments to build affordable housing. This tax will be assessed through an annual property value tax of $4.58 per $100,000 of assessed value.
This proposal will do nothing more than increase the number of CVRD bureaucrats and managers hired to do something that is so ill-defined that the money will be spent and there will be no accountability as to how the money is spent and nothing will change with affordable housing. There are no identified goals and no sunset date for this tax to end.
3) What caused the CVRD directors to choose affordable housing as the primary issue? Did they forget the 60s, 70s and 90s when housing prices and rents were increasing far greater than they are today? What about the seniors, people needing both medical and physical assisted living — these people who have already “paid” their dues? Shouldn’t assisted living accommodations be the priority?
4) Any proposal of this magnitude needs the approval of the majority of residential property taxpayers. Since they are the only ones being targeted for this tax; they have every right to determine whether or not it’s implemented.
What the residential taxpayer needs is better government not bigger government.