I am reading a lot of letters from St. Albert residents complaining about perceived, and real, property tax increases here in St. Albert. I have to share my story with these residents.
Over the last several weeks, I have voiced my concerns to the mayor and all members of council, with regard to the implementation of yet another committee, this one being a civilian police oversight committee. Councillors Bob Russell and Cam MacKay appear to be the main proponents of this committee. Councillors Heron, Hughes and Osborne apparently couldn’t be bothered to respond to my enquiries on this subject.
As a beleaguered taxpayer of St. Albert, besides the obvious duplication of services that will be provided by this committee, when compared to the already existing Strategic Action & Mobilization committee, I was concerned about the costs involved, especially when Mayor Nolan Crouse believed a budget of $50,000 would be required.
Councillor Russell informed me that it was his belief that a budget of $10,000 would be a more realistic figure, while Councillor MacKay intimated that a more reasonable cost would be $610.
Someone’s costs estimations seem to be way out of whack on this subject.
I, for one, am not in favour of this committee, but that is not the reason for today’s letter.
What was the catalyst was the comment I received from Councillor Russell today in response to an unsolicited email he earlier sent informing me, “… Support is growing for the Committee from citizens and merchants …”.
I responded by asking him, which was growing faster – the residential property tax rate or the support for this committee?
His response to that? “Pretty hard to beat the rate of the tax hike.”
Randy Kish, St. Albert