Taxes really going up 20%

Do calculations on tax bill, you won't like what you see.

Editor, The News:

Re: Taxes trimmed to 3.9 per cent (The News, June 5).

When I opened the envelope from the District of Maple Ridge a few days ago, containing my yearly property tax bill, I must admit I was a little shocked.

I shouldn’t have been. It happens every year about this time. I begrudgingly put it into the to be paid file with a few other items.

But, wow, do I ever feel better today. When I returned home from work and opened my copy of The News, there it was. Our mayor and council have triumphantly announced taxes will be trimmed to only 3.9 per cent increase.

And it even gets better. In 2014, the increase will be only 3.6 per cent, and in 2015 – 3.8 percent –  then in 2016, it will be 3.8 per cent, and again in 2017, it will be 3.98 per cent.

What restraint, all those small numbers. I sat down to figure out what my tax bill will be in five years, when I plan on retiring.

Guess what?

Shock again.

After you calculate the percentage increase on the percentage increase on the percentage increase, you end up with an increase of  slightly more than 20.5 per cent.

I challenge you, dear readers, to do the calculations yourself with your own tax bill. You won’t like the numbers you see.

This is not fiscal restraint, it’s madness. Give your head a shake over there at municipal hall and wake up. People have not had large increases in income over the past five years and, god help the elderly, on fixed incomes.

Gord McBeath

Maple Ridge

 

146% increase

Editor, The News:

Re: Taxes trimmed to 3.9 per cent (The News, June 5).

Tax time has brought out the anger and frustration of our citizens and for good reason. Maple Ridge has increased property taxes for 11 consecutive years.

I started tracking our property taxes in 2002, now 10 years later, I find an increase of 146 per cent. Tax increases like this is just highway robbery.

Has your income gone up by 146 per cent?

We know that municipal workers received wage increases of 25 per cent, and senior office staff members make well over $100,000 a year, with several making up to $250,000 a year.

The main issue is not wages, but tax revenue. Maple Ridge continues to have the lowest tax ratio of any municipality in the Lower Mainland, 93 per cent residential with seven per cent commercial.

The commercial tax rate is so high we have a problem attracting new business and retaining existing business.

During the last election, council and mayor all promised to promote new commercial and retail development. As we all know, nothing has happened to date. With another upcoming election in November 2014 do we dare hope for progressive change like found in Pitt Meadows, Mission, Port Coquitlam and Chilliwack?  Chilliwack is glaring example, the same size as Maple Ridge with a tax ratio of 12% residential and 88% commercial (this data from 2010).

These communities have local commercial and retail shopping, jobs that bring a positive future with tax revenues that grow a balanced community. Not just a bedroom community.

Do we hope for change or do we make change happen? It is all up to you.

Jim Bulpit

Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge News

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