North Cowichan council seems to think taxpayers have unlimited funds.

Tax rate hikes keep accelerating

Decision to hire an assistant fire chief after previously rejecting it not a good idea

North Cowichan council must be so grateful its residents have such deep pockets and are willing to pay for just about any new position the municipality wants to create.

The hiring fair at the municipality is getting out of control. There’s no need to curb it or make tough decisions that might be required of a regular business because you’re paying.

People are tired of hearing about how municipal employees are overworked. So are many people in other sectors of the community, but they don’t have a choice to alleviate the pressure. The municipality just needs to wave its magic wand, send you the bill and, presto, some of its questionable needs are met.

The cost of these new positions isn’t cheap and we’ve heard the argument before that if you don’t pay well, the most qualified people can’t be hired. Surely, there are some decent folks out there who could somehow get by on $85,000 a year instead of the more than $110,000 two of these positions are going to cost.

There doesn’t seem to be any consideration for the taxpayer. One thing council obviously hasn’t thought about is how people on fixed incomes are going to forego buying certain things to pay for these tax increases.

That might mean not purchasing something at a local business, essentially taking money right out of the pockets of small-town operators already struggling to make ends meet.

The flip-flop on the recent decision initially to not hire an assistant fire chief sets a bad example. First, they weren’t doing it and, one special budget meeting later, the decision was reversed. So what changed during that time?

If council is making a decision, it would be good to stick by it for public perception. Two other proposed new positions have just been rejected. Are we to expect some reconsideration of those as well?

Councillor Rob Douglas has been the only voice of reason on council. He’s recognizing that tax hikes of twice the rate of inflation are unacceptable.

We all know the tax hikes for the new RCMP building are on the books for a while. Everyone might like a little relief from all the other whirlwind spending to keep taxes from going further through the roof.

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