Cause for concern

Resident expresses concerns about spending habits at Vernon city hall

I’m getting a little too tired of tax increases every year are you?  Here are some sobering facts and I believe them to be correct.

*2010 city salaries were $20.9 million.

*82 employees are making over $75,000.

There are just over 25,000,000 wage earners in Canada. The average individual income according to Stats Canada in 2010 is $29,250

Included in this average are the high-paying jobs in the public service sector like city workers, firemen, teachers, nurses, doctors, and police.

It’s hard to find stats on how many Vernonites are making less than $15 per hour but you can bet they are not working for the public service sector!

Who doesn’t want to work for the government, cities, and municipalities because that’s where the money and benefits are.

That puts our city employees making $75,000 or more in the top 12 per cent of earners in all of Canada and the ones making over $100,000 are in the top six per cent in all of Canada.

My property taxes from 2000 to 2011 have risen 30 per cent.

My house insurance has risen 94 per cent in 10 years.

My income has risen zero per cent in the last 10 years.

The city is looking to borrow more money and I for one am a little worried. Canadian personal and government debt are at an all time high and we are seeing other countries like the U.S.A. and Europe in dire straits financially.

We are in a society of instant material reward and we’re willing to risk our future and our children’s future to get it, and once we have it we move onto the next and the next until our debt is so big we can’t face it.

Many cities in California are facing bankruptcy with some already in bankruptcy.

Why is that? Because they have run budgets too close to the wire and when city wages, benefits and pensions keep rising, there is less money for services for people like you and me. When their revenues suddenly take a dip because of various reasons like unemployment or the cost of debts change, there’s nowhere to turn but to raise taxes and we as homeowners and businesses are the sitting ducks.

The usual excuse is that you have to pay high salaries for the best qualified people.

I don’t believe that for a minute.  Some of these high-paid planners with their extravagant expenses and bonuses have put cities in the position we are now in.

Some cities have had poor visions for the future and now we have cities designed for cars not people.

Now they are in the predicament of inadequate public water fronts, few multiuse paths, dangerous pedestrian areas, unsafe parks and more.

Is it fair to think or do these people really think that they are worth three, four, or five times the yearly salary of many other hard-working citizens?

I’m sure there are highly qualified university graduates willing to work for a lot less that are trained in a future vision where people are helping people and working to make a community prosper.

Is it possible we are looking at a future like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others? We are not immune, we are all connected economically.

Is it all we can do is hope with ignorance that everything will be OK or can we speak up for better change and equanimity?

Perhaps future referendums should cover all projects of long-term planning of maybe 10-15 years, where these projects can be prioritized and decisions made of what people want and what the city (the people) can afford.

R. Garner

Vernon