VICTORIA – During the year Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria gives out it’s share of lumps of coal, but during this festive time we have candy canes for the stockings of some local politicians.

At the top of our ‘nice’ list this year is Sidney City Council which initially planned on a 2.72 per cent tax increase, then reworked the 2016 budget to less than one per cent. It was held to .08 per cent, with no increase in utility fees, one of the lowest rates in the region.

“It’s encouraging to see a local jurisdiction listen to the public, take their concerns to heart, and exercise some fiscal prudence,” says Stan Bartlett, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.

Sidney recognizes choices have to be made and to keep taxes affordable is important to the well-being of our businesses and residents. Like any business or resident, the needs and wants within a municipality are often greater than what the municipality and community can afford at one time, says Bartlett.

Grumpy Taxpayer$ also acknowledge that quality of life for the city and taxpayers comes from moderate taxation but also from nurturing the economy and creating prosperity.

The City of Victoria and its council are to be heralded for their support of the South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP), a new regional strategic model for economic development in South Vancouver Island.

“The cost-benefit of supporting economic development has considerable potential and we would urge its continued support,” says Bartlett.

While $250,000 for economic development plus $220,000 over five years for SIPP, are modest amounts on a $224-million budget in 2017, Grumpy$ is pleased the file is starting to get the attention it deserves.

Oak Bay Council has worked behind the mythical ‘Plaid Curtain’ for generations and generally keeps its business close to its vest.

So we applaud City Council for its recent decision to stream video and webcasting of its council meetings (and hope that Saanich, our largest regional municipality, may not be far behind with its very expensive $450,000 website upgrade).

Transparency and a conversation with the taxpayer is the lifeblood of effective civic government and we welcome these changes at Oak Bay, says Bartlett.

Last, but not least, a candy cane goes to Saanich for its establishment of a Governance Review Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

To its credit, the District recognizes that providing citizens with knowledge and tools about public process and encouraging public participation is an integral part of good governance.
Available for Media Interviews:

Stan Bartlett, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
grumpytaxpayers@telus.net<mailto:grumpytaxpayers@telus.net>
250-477-9907

John Treleaven, 1st Vice-chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
treleavengroup@shaw.ca<mailto:treleavengroup@shaw.ca>
250.656.7899, cell 250.588.7899