An excellent presentation was given to the public Sept. 26 about Vernon’s official community plan by the city’s director of community development services, Kim Flick.
Kim stated that one of the main reasons we have high municipal taxes in Vernon is because of the cost of servicing new developments with many unsold lots.
The city has to pay for a large number of services such as snow and dust removal on their streets, street light repairs and many other costs but does not receive enough revenue from those developments if they are not even 50 per cent full.
The solution to lowering taxes is to not start new developments until the existing developments are at least 80 per cent full.
Statistics from city hall show that since 2008, housing starts have been about 200 per year. At 200 starts per year, Vernon has enough pre-zoned, already serviced lots for the next 45.8 years.
Even if Vernon had 300 starts per year, we would have enough lots for 30.6 years.
This report includes areas such as Bella Vista, the Rise and Middleton Mountain. Not included in these stats are mature neighbourhoods within the city or a housing redevelopment within the downtown.
Creating density within the city centre will lower our taxes even more because of the city’s largest expense — roads. Looking at the 2013 financial report done by the city, the biggest expense so far is the cost of roads, including maintenance.
When we create subdivisions in suburban areas, we have to build and repair more roads.
People living closer to the centre of Vernon and people who walk and cycle for transportation bring down taxes, including health care taxes.
Smaller vehicles making less trips will also save our streets from the high cost of maintenance.
Vernon’s OCP needs to be followed and it needs good planning to improve our quality of life and to reduce our taxes.