You may have seen the recent editorial arguments between Lynda Flannery of the St. Albert taxpayers Association, members of council, bloggers and editorialists in the local papers. Are there really people in St. Albert that do not think taxation and spending would be an election issue? Taxation and spending is always an issue in any election campaign and seeing how the levels of tax in St. Albert are quite high I would be surprised if this was not an issue.
Affordability and affordable housing has been an issue in St. Albert for quite some time and the level of taxation is directly related to this issue. For me this becomes personal as one of the reasons my mother decided to leave town was to avoid the high levels of property taxation and fees we incur in St. Albert. Moving to Saskatoon to live with my brother was the other part of the equation. Wise public spending is something that folks of all financial means deserve from city council.
Taxation is the number one thing I hear at the doorstep from the average St. Albertan and I don’t expect this to change. This was really hammered home to me a couple of days ago when I knocked on the door of the home where I grew up. It was for sale and recently taken off the market, living there now is a single mother of two girls. I asked her why she was moving and I was curtly told that it was because of the taxes and fees. She could no longer afford to keep up the home and was looking to move to Edmonton. I informed her that this was my childhood home and she gave me a tour. Her home was well kept but need some repairs. It really struck me as unfortunate that she had to move from our great city. I feel that we need to be attracting families like hers to our city and in order to accomplish this we must take the issue of taxation seriously. St. Albert has always benefited from being the number on choice for young families and maintains our strong history of volunteering from seniors. These are the two groups we need to attract and retain to keep our city vibrant and healthy.
My platform outlines three key policies to address this issue.
1. Keep property taxes to a maximum increase of 1.5% for the next 3 years
2. Implement zero based budgeting to seek efficiencies in government
3. Refocus our efforts back to core services, rather than looking for expensive new ideas
I am hopeful that over the long term if these policies are implemented and we bring back to city hall the idea that cost matters, we can continue to attract young families to our great city and enable seniors to enjoy their golden years.
Now that we are closer to the campaign we have decided to switch over to a more in depth blog, that will enable me to post more articles of greater breadth. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you and getting some feedback as well.
For all of you longtime readers until October 18th I have turned this blog over to my son who is seeking a city council seat in St.Albert this coming october 18th, 2010. I have watched him grow up and I have no doubt he will be a fine representative for St.Albert. He has always worked very hard at what he does and has not let success (or failure) go to his head.
Graduating with Paul Kane with honors, achieving a commerce degree from the U of A, serving our country in the military and running his own business are certainly good credentials to bring to city hall.
I watched him grow up and become the father he is today and I wish him all the best. I hope all that read this will give him due consideration this comming October 18th.