Yes, it’s Election Season. Time to get out as much ammunition as possible to refute the obvious and hope that there are still gullible individuals out there who don’t take notice of the mail they receive from the City in June.
The Mayor’s preceding campaign platforms advocating that this taxation trend is not sustainable is past amusing when one reads how supportive he now is of the high taxes his terms in office have offered.
Take a look at the Mayor’s defensive list advocating this city’s high residential taxes.
1. He states that the lack of industry in St. Albert contributes to a “major quality of life factor” to residents. Does it Mr. Mayor? Is that why singles and young families relocate to other cities and towns so they can use their hard-earned dollars on strengthening the local economy instead of the local government’s coffers? Is that why seniors’ quality of life has diminished as they fight to sustain themselves in their homes on their fixed incomes while you continue to dip into their wallets?
2. Touting St. Albert’s public transit as providing value to this community is knee slapping. If seeing empty buses continually driving around St. Albert is proof of value then Mr. Mayor and certain members of his council are admitting to throwing money out of those ‘exhaust pipes’.
3 & 4. Reaching for the sky, are we? Aside from the 1.2 million dollar cost on the one kilometer of 40 trees on St. Albert Trail, one may want to look at the quality of pruning that is done. Ever notice all the new growth around the base of trees that the pruners just turn a blind eye to? Maybe the Mayor has not experienced his much touted waste management trucks doing free pruning. Now that’s a cost saver! Or the pruners themselves tearing mature limbs off trees with their vehicles. Oooops! Driving talent or part of the job description? And then there are the residents who end up planting trees on their front boulevards because the city just – wasn’t – getting – around – to – it.
5. Pothole maintenance? Obviously the mayor rides his bike too much to notice the road surface vehicles drive on. If it is not ‘dips’, it is a roller coaster ride for vehicles to manoeuver over. Impressive, yes? Definitely for the shocks, front end and suspension. By the way, who eventually pays for the wheel alignments?
6. “Outstanding amenities and services for arts” can also be found in neighbouring communities. Next.
7. Puhleeeze. Schools in neighbouring communities also have an excellent rating. Some even significantly better than St. Albert’s.
8. Not having the library information at hand that the Mayor has and seeing he has decided not to share the applicable link, Stabnow declines to comment on this point.
9. A sidewalk on both sides of St. Albert Trail? Other than the foot-walking public inhaling fumes while they contemplate the costs that this extravaganza offers, what is the purpose? Is this part of ICLEI’s “road diet” mandate to you Mr. Mayor? To get everyone out of their cars “to save the bees, to save the whales, to save those snails“?
10. St. Albert’s graffiti policy costs taxpayers money? Clarification would be most welcome on how this costs taxpayers when the City’s recommendation is that “All you have to do is record, report and remove.” while the owner of the property does all the work???
11. Without the city or the Mayor giving residents the transparency of the annual costs of servicing river crossings, this becomes an election ‘feel good’ comment.
12. Traffic fatalities – Again, an election statement that gives neither a comparison of previous years to present, nor any link to support the Mayor’s statement.
13. Hmmmm . . . .”some communities” seems to be the operative phrase. In other words there are surrounding communities that do offer, if not the same, at least similar programs for community safety. And are not parts of this list repetitive of point seven??
14. But. . . but the communities that DO subsidize a volunteer centre, victim’s services and a 50+ club still have lower taxes.
15. What communities is St. Albert being compared to? And how many of these communities actually have active and viable programs that do not add to the tax burden of residents? Or have them taxed to the extent St. Albert does?
16. Another repetition on traffic safety. This time it is point twelve.
17. Snow clearing? Oh yes. Most definitely an higher standard when one considers that the entrance of property owners’ driveways have to be shovelled to get vehicles out in the mornings and public sidewalks have to be cleared of the mountains of snow piled on to them by the City’s snow clearing crew. And what about saving those snow clearing expenses when the snow is already melting and pavement is clearly visible?
18. The claim to fame that “St. Albert’s green space per capita is one of the highest in Canada” seems to be in a fight with numerous other cities when one inserts the above phrase into a search engine. Who – is – telling – the – truth?
19. Countdown lights – Another repeated point on traffic. (See point 12)
20. Operative word is “some”.
21. Free parking? Where? At city hall? Residential areas? At businesses? Downtown? Does this cost us money? If not, why is it being included in this list? Or is this an hint of things to come? You know . . . . . more revenue.
22. Para-ramps – great concept. May St. Albert have that same respect in other areas for those who are physically challenged.
23. It seems that cities of similar size can boast an hospital and churches. Small communities obviously won’t have hospitals.
24. Handi-bus – again, the writer should compare this to communities of similar size.
25. & 26 were previously mentioned. The continued repetitiveness should seriously worry the voter as to the ability of the writer of the original article in a leadership position.
27. Crime rate. Statistics Canada does a great job of showing the decrease in various communities. Seems the majority of communities are becoming a lot safer. This is definitely something to keep in mind for future policing costs.
28. Chamber of Commerce – What does the Mayor mean by “thriving”? And in what context.
29. And residents should be proud to pay so that St. Albert can “boast” larger per capita basis ice program than other communities?
30. Railroad – What annual costs are incurred by taxpayers?
32. It would be nice if taxpayers knew what the savings and the cost would be if FCSS funds were reduced.
33. Free Wifi? A definite misnomer. Who is paying for “free”?
34. “Some communities” are probably quite happy not being burdened with the likes of Servus Place.
35. Oh, yes. We definitely agree that St. Albert’s waste system comes at a cost. That cost could most definitely be trimmed.
36. It seems that the “support” programs have increased during the Mayor’s reign. The question is “Why?”. And why is local government involving itself in so many programs that were once independent of its involvement?