Re: “Victoria backs away from automating parkades,” March 8.
The debate over automating parkades illustrates the fundamental problem with Victoria city council’s decision to impose an arbitrary annual 3.25 per cent tax cap for the next three years, with no analysis of the impact on public services and the long-term stability of city finances.
This target has triggered other arbitrary decisions, such as capping library budget increases to two per cent, which the city has no authority to impose on the independent library board or police board. The proposed caps on police and library budgets represent a large percentage of the cuts identified to date, so failing to meet those caps will require even deeper reductions to other city services, just to meet the 3.25 per cent target in the first year.
Of most concern, however, is the decision to allocate only 1.25 per cent of the tax increase to the capital reserve fund. This is down from the previous staff recommendation of 1.50 per cent, and the latter target has rarely been met in previous years.
Underfunding infrastructure budgets to meet a short-term tax target is the opposite of prudent fiscal planning; it is simply shifting more costs and higher tax increases to taxpayers in five or 10 years, when another city council will bear the brunt of public wrath for ill-considered decisions made in 2013.
It’s time for council to scrap the 3.25 per cent tax cap and launch an informed dialogue on how we pay for public services that sustain our community.
© Copyright 2013