The condition of the roads in our city is disgusting. The snow has been falling since early December and there are streets and lanes in the downtown area that have yet to be cleared.
We have sporadic clearing of the sidewalks, but all that does is push the snow over the curb onto the street. There it sits with no attempt at removal. The eight to 10 feet adjacent to the curbs has been covered with almost a foot of rutted slushy snow throughout the holiday season. It is impossible to get out of a parked car without stepping into this mess and I defy anyone to be a pedestrian on Mackenzie Avenue.
In 2011 the city collected $11,472,290 from property taxes. They spent 76 per cent or $8,653,397 on wages and benefits. During the same year, the CRD collected a General Purpose Levy of $22,871,875.
They spent 65 per cent or $15,043,099 on labour costs that included contracted services. These amounts spent on labour costs represent 69 per cent of every dollar collected for property taxes.
You would think that some of those dollars could have been spent on keeping our city streets clear of snow.
Another beneficiary of our property tax dollars is the School District. They are considering closing three elementary schools rather than address the wage and benefit costs which are the single largest expense item in their budget.
Is it time that we demand the amalgamation of these arms of government to achieve some economies of scale? An amalgamation would enable the reduction of elected officials, administrative, maintenance and support positions that would go a long way to helping local government meet their budgets.