It is so nice to see that our elected city councillors are putting their best foot forward and their best efforts to keep pace with inflation and the impending almost six per cent increase in our St. Albert property taxes.
Wouldn’t it be great if my wife and I were able to see a six per cent increase in our CPP and OAS payments. But, as a semi retired soon-to-be septuagenarian that continues to work part time to supplement our pension payments, I find it increasingly difficult to watch as our elected officials from municipal, provincial and federal levels continue to impose ever increasing taxes of varying sorts on their constituents.
Whatever happened to our elected politicians closely watching the budget and expenses as if it was their own money? It seems more and more politicians at all levels feel that they know better than the people who voted for them. These politicians of late have the appearance of being holier than thou, learned ones and choose to disregard the opinions of their constituents.
Recent examples include the referendum where the opening of a branch library was rejected by the voters. After the election, the council went ahead anyway and opened the branch.
It sounds as if council is surprised with the push back that it received regarding the renaming project of various streets and facilities. Consultants have been hired and funds spent by administrators and council who are now shocked to learn that there is opposition to the street renaming project. Was the cost of the address changes factored into their cost study?
Municipal, provincial and federal taxes need to cover infrastructure projects such as water, roads, sewer, public facilities construction, and long term maintenance. Each and every proposal needs to be closely scrutinized for its budget, benefit to the community and total costs, short and long term.
Do some “art” projects such as our infamous “ducks on a stick” really add anything to our quality of life in St. Albert? Other “art” projects in Edmonton and Calgary, such as the “chrome balls” on the Whitemud or the “steel beams” on the Trans Canada in Calgary, are truly questionable in their added value to the community. Would those funds not have been better spent on other beneficial community projects?
It is time that our elected politicians sharpen their pencils while reviewing the proposed budget, requests for funds and learn how to say no without fear of offending anyone.
As one of my old, successful clients told me: “There are wants and needs. You look after the needs first and then if there is anything left after they are taken care of, you can look at the wants."
Rob Pritchard, St. Albert