We read with disappointment about the proposed two-tier or three-tier rate increase for the north harbour [“Committee recommends rate increase for Powell River’s north harbour,” November 30].
Mayor Dave Formosa commented that “city residents pay a decent tax and folks who don’t live in the city, in the regional district, have a lower tax rate.”
Formosa goes on to say: “we should have different rates, for those within the city, who pay taxes towards repaying this debt, and those who aren’t should be paying a little bit higher rate so we get some sort of return on investment.”
The article stated that councillor Cindy Elliott, similar to the mayor, would like to see proceeds from the north harbour go into general revenue as well as the reserve fund.
We wanted to point out that while we live in qathet Regional District, and have a boat in the north harbour, our property tax rate has increased 144 per cent in the last four years alone. We pay thousands of dollars in property taxes, as do Powell River residents, yet we do not receive water, sewer, garbage collection, recycling or even street lights.
In those four years, our taxes for Electoral Area B have increased over 100 per cent. We don’t even know what those taxes are for.
What we would like to see is a portion of the regional district taxes reallocated to the north harbour. As there are reportedly “23 per cent” of the north harbour residents in the regional district, it would not be difficult to discover who, and reallocate taxes from, the Area B category of our taxes to assist in the 23 per cent of $30,000 that is proposed as new general revenue for the city.
We would also like to voice opposition to providing new “general revenue” for the city but agree that adding to the “reserve fund” for the next generation is reasonable.
Additionally, we have noticed that many people launch their boats at the north harbour but no one asks those boaters where they live, or require people from outside the area to pay for the recent remediation work done to that site. Perhaps, those non-residents who use the facility should be charged a fee as many marinas do.
And it should also be pointed out that it is regional district residents who keep the marina full. Without the 23 per cent there would be a much larger reduction in general revenue. Perhaps they should be appreciated as contributors to the Powell River economy and not penalized.
And finally, while five per cent is not a large increase, at this difficult time in the economy, with many people on reduced wages and businesses struggling, it does seem like a delay in this increase for at least a year would be a more welcome solution.
Nick and Julie Gregory are qathet Regional District residents who live in Electoral Area B.