“Nothing is sure but death and taxes,” my long-departed uncle used to tell me (don’t believe him). If you’re reading this piece of modern literature there is a good chance that you’re still in the taxable category. So you pay taxes? We all pay taxes; and as far back as recorded history takes us, we have complained fruitlessly about taxation and the tax man. Ain’t nothin’ new under the sun. We might as well get used to it, smile through our tears, pay on time, and avoid the penalty.
What might be new is the growing openness of, especially, local government to share information on how your tax dollars will be and have been spent. I’d like to give you a 500-word update on how some of your tax dollars are being used to make this town just a little more liveable.
Until just a few days ago, the folks along Gerwin Road were not connected to the District water system. Inconvenient at best. But things have changed along Gerwin Road. Delicious, potable, District water now flows, to their property lines at least, funded by what we all call taxes. The residents receiving the new service did pay half the cost with the option of paying up front or having the cost added their tax bills over ten years. So the project is tax funded however you look at it. If this 350 thousand dollar, 2000 feet of 8-inch line comes in under budget the residents will see a corresponding reduction in their share of the cost.
So, taxes can be made to work for you, to improve your quality of life.
Other projects completed, in progress, imminently starting, and almost certainly guaranteed to improve your quality of life include 40th Street construction (completed); 41st Street construction (nearing completion). How near? Near enough that paving is scheduled for 40th and 41st Streets for mid August. Now that will visibly and immediately improve the appearance of your neighbourhood, reduce your driving tension, elevate your property values, and lift your tax rate. (Just a joke!)
An intensive pot-hole patching program is under way and major asphalt repairs will be undertaken within the next month. Yes, your tax dollars are having visible results that we all can appreciate.
Your District government is also taking a more aggressive approach to property maintenance matters this year. This means that unsightly premises will come under closer scrutiny and owners may be required to take a more aggressive approach to putting things in order. If you think this is an invasion of your privacy or of your right to live in a disorganized way, think again. We all share the same air space and your life style affects your neighbours’ peace and happiness.
Finally, the District sewer treatment plant requires major upgrades. On July 15 Council adopted a strategy to deal with these issues that will, as far as possible, reduce the pain that will be felt by every tax payer.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor