Re: Colwood showing fiscal leadership, Letters, Sept. 28, 2011.
As a concerned resident and taxpayer of Colwood and frequent attendee at council meetings for the past three years, I suggest “Colwood showing fiscal mismanagement” far more aptly describes Colwood’s current fiscal leadership.
Any balanced budgets over the past three years were achieved at the expense of Colwood ratepayers.
Despite our current economy, all but two councillors — Brian Tucknott and Ernie Robertson — chose to ignore austerity and instead voted to hire more city staff including a new deputy engineer, deputy finance director, building inspectors, deputy fire chief and Solar Colwood staff at a combined annual payroll of approximately $500,000.
This additional staffing is currently being funded at the detriment of road maintenance services and will equate to another five per cent yearly tax increase beginning in 2012.
In addition to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants, other monies which could have been conserved to prevent further tax increases were spent on poorly documented grant requests and helicopter rides to environmental conferences.
According to recent data obtained from the City, only five residents have signed up for solar panels in the much glorified Solar Colwood initiative. This represents thousands of taxpayer dollars now in jeopardy of being red-flagged as a failed experiment for a non-essential core service.
With a 30 per cent increase in combined property taxation and significant sewer tax bills, this hardly calls for celebration and more innovative expenditures.
Real fiscal leadership in Colwood must start with elected officials who make core City services and property tax control their first priority. As a taxpayer it is my hope that this is what the next council will do.