By Lethbridge Herald on November 27, 2018.
Lethbridge, you’re facing property tax increases for indeterminable years in the foreseeable future, and one of the nuttiest faux pas of fiscal irresponsibility came out of council deliberations, debating the feasibility of transitioning Lethbridge, now a city of 100,000, to a ward system of representation.
Long overdue — how many corporations operate with part-time employees directing the business? Nov. 22, the Finance Committee debating Lethbridge’s 2019-22 operating budget referred the matter of “ward” representation to another Money Slurping Bunch (MSB) tagged with the label “Open and Effective Government Committee” who in turn, we are told, may refer the matter to yet another MSB, the “Citizens Committee” to “look at the initiatives.” To that point “some money will be set aside” in preparation for looming discussion(s).
“Some money.” Oh yes, ka-ching ka-ching, that’s open effective government at work! But they were not through with us on this day. “Due to incoming federal tax changes,” councillor salaries “will be adjusted” to compensate for “a roughly $4,400 shortfall,” making “up for the imbalance” of federal tax changes? Taxpayers can bank on one thing absolute — any matter pertaining to councillor compensation will not be tailing an agenda. Our open, effective and accountable municipal government assured the citizenry via the open and effective chairman that what’s going on down there is in line with “what other municipalities are doing across the country.”
Reassuring, isn’t it, knowing that? But — hold the applause. Said chairman assured the hard-toiling, walking, blinking cash registers that they must understand “councillors are not getting a pay raise” A joke, a literal apparition? Apparently neither! So let us conclude. If “compensation” for a “roughly $4,400 shortfall” doesn’t represent a “pay raise” — may it be a newly minted obfuscating concoction muddying the lexicon, befuddling the dazed herd, as it covertly slides into the home plate of “projected” tax increases? I suggest if nothing else it’s another clever play on public monies, especially if our open and effective representatives can weave this though the pasture — without getting dirty!
Alvin W. Shier