I am a taxpayer in Vernon for the past 20 years and I am still as confused as ever. The council has stated they are having a special budget meeting Dec. 11 for public input. I have several problems with this.
First in May, they asked for our input on Engage Vernon website, and as always, I completed the survey, now they say they want more input. Well I just went and looked on the city’s website and found the appropriate document 578 pages in length, the first quarter the council and managers just patting themselves on their back. Then nothing but a bunch of numbers from 2019 budget and 2020 number, but their is no explanation that I could find explaining what the money is to be used for.
Secondly, the only thing I did find out was that wages and benefits were the only area going up and the rest of proposed budget was a decrease. I would like to know why if the budget numbers are going down then why are the taxes not going down too, or are the unions getting that much of an increase that it will cause this 3.9 per cent increase in taxes. I know bet that 60 per cent of the work force in Vernon will not get an increase in wages or benefits this at all as a retired person I cannot see any increase maybe $200 this year.
There is no explanation as to how our money is going to be spent but just numbers on paper.
How are we as supposedly unqualified financial accounts supposed to make sense out of 578 pages, can they not condense this down to maybe 100-150 with no great pictures or letters but numbers for what has to be done where and when. If not why then even ask us for our input when most of us do not have the time or supposedly knowledge to understand the 578 pages.
Let’s have some transparency here Mr. Mayor and Council: put what it actually costs the city to have all the union wages and benefits in a one number hourly rate or would be this to big and we might realize that after this tax increase their will be no staff that will be making less six figures a year in income.
Do not try and sell me that this is a prosperous city as we the tax payers know business are closing and if you take your rose-coloured glasses and blinkers of you might see the great amount of office space vacant in Vernon. the cost of living is getting higher if you can find a place to live.
I will not attend this meeting as they are not going to be listening but instead open the meeting then close it with no thoughts of changing what they want.