To the editor:
Over the 17 years we have lived in Vernon, we have seen council regularly accept greater than inflationary budgets.
We have brought about extra ice sheets and a running track as well as inner city beautification and other endeavours.
We continue to spend enormous sums on both the RCMP and the city fire department.
Each year, in order to pay for these projects we spend more, in some years much more than inflation.
This has had a profound effect on many in Vernon who live on a fixed income, or one marginally indexed to Canada’s Consumer Price Index.
Some live comfortably on defined benefit pension plans as well as investments, OAP and CPP.
When it comes to property taxes, like many the city can defer them to a provincial account that charges about the lowest rate imaginable.
This is after discounting them for the homeowner’s grant and age deductions. Think of it as a home reverse mortgage on the cheap.
This strategy is not available for many who are younger than 55, and are raising a family.
If they are well off, they own a residence and will have at least the homeowner’s grant as well as property value increases as a benefit.
There is no tax deferral for them and perhaps no recent salary raises.
For those retired seniors without a workplace pension, life depends on OAP, OAS and maybe a partial CPP.
Many rent and are subject to annual increases that have until current government intervention run at inflation plus two per cent.
There are no rental grants or deferments for them.
Imagine the effect of losing two per cent, a very conservative estimate, or greater of your fixed income over, say, 10 years.
This means you will have lost more than one-fifth of your former purchasing power.
This will come about as your medical and transportation costs are increasing due to aging.
I would like council and all who work for the city to think about these issues when they ask for more projects or money.