Feature Letter: Once again, misleading figures for Sooke

Sooke mayor defends municipal spending and disputes figures

Municipal Costs – Once Again Misleading Figures for Sooke

 

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) once again is publishing their statistics for municipal spending using the years 2000 – 2011 indicating an increase of 214 per cent for Sooke. They used 2000 as a base year and compared it to 2011.

They don’t explain that Sooke incorporated in December of 1999. As a start-up municipality, Sooke operated the first year, 2000 with a skeleton staff, starting with a CAO and an assistant then hiring a finance person and an engineer part way through the year. The only other paid staff was the Assistant Fire Chief with most services contracted to the Capital Regional District at the minimal level of service previously provided by the CRD.

This is then compared to 2011 when Sooke was fully staffed providing the services that incorporation brought with it.

The Federation had agreed “that the baseline year isn’t fair to Sooke” and agreed to put a foot note stating that in future publications. Once again, this year they have published the figures without the foot note explaining these anomalies. The CFIB states “Sooke performs very well on the per capita indicator”, so one has to wonder is it just sloppy reporting or is it done to influence voters.

The Times Colonist (TC) editorial on October 26th continues with the sloppy reporting I assume based on CFIB statistics, suggesting that Sooke has the worst record among B.C.’s 153 local governments. The TC can’t even get the salaries paid our elected officials right, suggesting that all municipalities except Victoria and Saanich have mayors who make between $30,000 and $40,000 and councillors who make between $15,000 and $30,000.  As mayor my salary is $20,320 while our councillors make $10,160 frozen by this council upon election. Maybe a little fact checking might be in order.

No one disagrees that we need to contain costs and this Council has held Sooke to less than a 3 per cent total tax increase over three years, one of the best, if not the best, in the region.

This type of flawed reporting by both the CFIB and the TC does not serve the citizens of Sooke well. The misuse of statistics like this to influence voters is irresponsible.

Wendal Milne

Mayor

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