Editorial: Municipal spending in focus

Reports of municipal spending in Sooke are missleading

One thing that is likely to rear its ugly head before the election is a recent report on municipal costs. From 2000-2011 it shows the District of Sooke with a 214 per cent growth in spending, the highest in all of Southern Vancouver Island. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture but what must be remembered is that in the year 2000 Sooke became a municipality.

Changing from being unincorporated to incorporated results in a lot of one-time spending. It means hiring staff and CAOs and professionals to run the “corporation.” It means paying for such things as purchasing office furniture, and larger budget items such as fire department costs and everything else that is needed to run a corporation as big as the District of Sooke.

So what looks like huge increases in spending is actually just the start up costs of running a municipality. So the numbers do look skewed and there is the off chance this might be used as a political football in the upcoming election by anyone stating they are going to lower municipal spending by using those figures as their rationale.

Yes, taxes rise but then so do the wants of the community. Roads, sidewalks, parks, beautification, sports fields and maintenance all take money.

Every single grant given out to a community group comes from taxpayers in one way or another. Every time a council says “yes” to a request, they are taking money from the community coffers. One of the issues is the downloading of services onto lower levels of government. So many grant and funding opportunities are now extinct and those same organizations who need help to run are now coming to the district. That’s just one example.

If lowering taxes and municipal spending is the aim then try lobbying the province and the federal government to hold up their end of the bargain.

Take a look at the budget to see what the district can reasonably afford.

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