I PAY TAXES and other so whats

Posted on Wednesday February 15, 2017 at 02:10PM

Apples to oranges...that is the comparison we make when we compare what we pay for taxes, with what 'they' pay for taxes in other larger towns. I have been to a few meetings, and we all know the person who prefaces their complaints with "I PAY TAXES" as a way of pointing out their entitlement. While being a tax payer does indeed entitle a person to a spot in the municipal chain...and I fully agree that one has not only the right, but the responsibility to take part in the process, paying taxes does not, does NOT give anyone the right to be abusive. You should know why decisions are made the way they are made, you should know how your tax dollars are spent, and if you don't know you should ask. What you shouldn't do is assume the reasons that things are not the way you think they should be is because the town guys are lazy or the administration is out to get you. Go on in, and have a chat. Ask your questions, write a complaint but be nice. If you cannot be nice, if you need a little anger to get your point across, then be angry. But stop swearing at the people charged with keeping the thing going and remember that you are all in this together.  They pay taxes too.

Many of our Saskatchewan communities are in a bad way. They've borrowed a lot, and their revenue streams cannot meet their future infrastructure needs. The people who live there don't come out to meetings even if the doughnuts are fresh and the coffee is hot (that used to work!!). People are caught between the need to change, and the entrenched resistance to that change. The whole build it and they will come philosophies left debt, and no growth for some communities. Regional partnerships could really help, but people are afraid to do that, in case partnering costs more than they have left in terms of cash and autonomy. We pay taxes, but cannot afford the taxes necessary to sustain some of our communities, never mind invest in growth.

So the solution? Sustainability first--meaning we need to put things in place that ensure our communities' survival into the future, and we need to make sure we do this before the next would be nice to have project gets built. We need to make sure that our water and sewer rates reflect not only what it costs to maintain it, but also puts some aside for what it will cost to replace it when it fails. We create sustainability plans that include local business that they can grow and expand and create new jobs...instead of putting time, money and other resources towards courting the white knight...the business who will come to our town, and create jobs for us. So we can pay taxes. :)

Author: Solomon Matthewson Consulting


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