In the Sooke News Mirror of Nov. 7 Councillor Herb Haldane basically said that the recent sewer parcel tax increase from $515 to $552 a year was the fault of the previous council voting for a five- year agreement with EPCOR. Haldane voted against the five-year deal and Bev Berger was absent from that council meeting. The previous council proposed a 21-year agreement, but this agreement was rejected via the alternative approval process primarily through the efforts of current Mayor Wendal Milne and current Councillors Rick Kasper and Haldane, with current Councillor Berger also strongly against the 21- year agreement. Therefore the council at the time opted for the five- year deal.
Here is a quote from a news release from district staff on May 10, 2011 (http://sooke.ca/EN/main/documents/newsreleases/wastewater_agreement.html) regarding the parcel tax increases under a 21-year agreement:
“Stable rates: The agreement provides the ability to manage rates over its full 21-year length. Under current forecasts, the District expects that parcel taxes will be inflated annually at a rate of approximately 1 per cent, half the rate of the current Consumer Price Index (CPI).”
My calculations indicate that if we had entered into the 21- year agreement that our parcel tax increase for this year would be 1 per cent of $515, or $5.15. Instead, due largely to the efforts of Haldane, Milne and Kasper to defeat the 21-year agreement our increase is instead $37, roughly seven times the amount we would have paid under a 21- year agreement.
This increase only applies to residents who live in the sewer specified area and not all residents of Sooke. I don’t have any children attending school, so I wonder, why do I have to pay taxes to the school system? Another interesting fact is Haldane, Milne, and Kasper do not live in the sewer specified area, so this increase does not affect them.
Sleep well, Councillor Haldane.