As a tax paying citizen of Castlegar, I attend the council meetings regularly. I ask questions both at the meetings and in writing, and I do myhomework on the side, sifting through all available bylaws, budgets and documentation before presenting a question. On the CastlegarPodium Facebook page, I’m known to put forth a lot of questions in hopes of sparking discussion about our council and how our city isbeing run. More importantly, I question if our council is making sound financial decisions with our tax dollars.
When a community, or portions of a community, speak out against new proposed changes, one would think our council would, at the veryleast, listen to what the public is saying. We elected them to make decisions in the best interest of the tax payer. So, when the tax payers arevery loudly speaking out, attending all the meetings, and voicing their concerns publicly and formally, why is it okay that our city councilcontinues to turn a deaf ear and pretend everything is fine?
There was strong opposition to the bi-weekly garbage pick-up prior to implementation. Residents argued that this would be harder (andsmellier) for larger families and families with young children. Many people wondered how their elderly family members would managehauling a bin that large down to the curb. Some people were concerned that housing two week old garbage would attract bears to the arearather than deter them, and a lot of us wondered how “bear resistant” these bins would actually turn out to be.
There has also been strong opposition to the new parcel tax bylaw for the storm water sewer system upgrades. Not because people thinkthis shouldn’t be a priority, but because some of us question the priorities that our city council has in regards to infrastructure andbeautification. I’d like to know why the things that make our town “beautiful” are coming before the infrastructure needs of our city. Why arewe spending our money on Millennium, bridge lights, and rainbow crosswalks? Why was the successful bid for the airport maintenancecontract about $1 million more than the next highest bidder? How are these things in the best interest of the tax payer? Our council knewback in 2010 that our storm water sewer system needed upgrading. Why hasn’t this project been a priority for the last five years? Why haveonly some of the sewer infrastructure projects been completed? And where did the money go for the projects we budgeted for and didn’tcomplete? Why are we spending our reserve money on projects like Millennium instead of investing it into our much needed infrastructureupgrades? Why is the only solution to add additional tax to the taxpayer?