July 20th, 2024

What are tax levies doing to help downtown businesses?


By Lethbridge Herald on February 6, 2024.

OUR OPINION

Some Red Deer downtown business owners are mad and may not take it anymore. Business owners in that city’s downtown are threatening to withhold property taxes until plans for a new shelter are made public and an overdose prevention site removed.

A petition in that city has attracted the support of 40 business owners due to their frustration with issues in their downtown.

Those issues are similar to those being experienced in downtown Lethbridge with vandalism, drug use and the need to clean up human feces on premises. 

Some Red Deer businesses are locking their doors at all times because of loitering.

Additional businesses have shut down or moved and property owners are facing bankruptcy because they can’t pay their taxes on empty spaces.

A recent story out of Red Deer said little goes on downtown there because nobody wants to go there. 

Sound familiar?

Is the idea of withholding taxes in downtown Lethbridge something that businesses and property owners want to consider themselves given ongoing problems here?

We understand social issues are complex but roll shutters, damage repair and cleaning doorways cost money. And a concept which isn’t complex to grasp is those costs come at the expense of potential profits.

But money isn’t the only issue downtown – there is a perceived safety issue which many here are concerned about.

Businesses in the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone pay an annual tax levy to support the BRZ, this organization which “provides public advocacy on issues affecting the downtown core,” says the City on its website.

What exactly does this public advocacy mean and what are businesses getting for their money that goes to this levy – aside from the opportunity to support companies in the security sector?

We hear the City is concerned about downtown issues, which perhaps explains the formation of the Downtown Lawlessness Reduction Task Force committee.

 But do we really need a task force, and the expenditure of up to $10,000 on a data analysis company to determine what the issues are?

Unless the people who operate businesses downtown are missing something, that should be pretty obvious – drug addiction and the crime resulting from addiction. These are clearly the biggest issues facing downtown.

Do we need more analysis on the taxpayers’ dime to prove it officially?

Should property owners downtown consider taking the same approach as those in Red Deer – refuse to pay their tax levy until the situations they deal with are actually addressed?

What would downtown businesses have to lose? Penalties for not paying those levies? What actual penalty exists for those committing the crimes downtown? 

What deterrent can be implemented which will change the dynamic of downtown?

Clearly, more emergency homeless shelter space hasn’t helped despite the investment of $1 million in provincial money because people aren’t using the shelter. And they can’t be forced to use it.

But downtown businesses can be forced to pay tax levies for “advocacy?” What advocacy? 

What is the BRZ actually doing for downtown businesses, what is the City actually doing for downtown businesses besides taxing them? 

What are they doing to attract people here and to make the city core’s safer?

Can a tax levy do that? Maybe the City can provide that answer.

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Dennis Bremner

First of all you have to remember that Red Deer was one of two pilot projects , head haunchoed by Marshall Smith who was then deputy drug guy and is now Chief of Staff. Red Deer was about a year ahead of us in the “experiment”.
Marshal was also the deputy drug guy when I pitched my proposal to collude with the Blood and set up a facility outside of Lethbridge.It unfortunately collided with his brain child and so the collusion was done inside Lethbridge.
Which is exactly what is being done in Red Deer. So doing the same thing, and expecting different results won’t happen.
The Advocates for Drug Addicts are far more organized that those that oppose the destruction of their own cities. It is proven everyday. BC rolls down the road with legalization and safe supply knowing full well that it does not work. (Angels humming in the background please)
Advocates here have already started preaching from the Norweigan Pulpit insisting giving addicts a “home” next to you or I, and destroying neighbourhoods is an act of God and Charity. Of course what the Lethbridge bound neopphytes don’t understand is Norweigan is in the highest category of “difficult to learn languages”. So offering homes to their drug addicts with a supervision that exceeds anything in Canada works because they do not get Danish, German, or Swedish addicts racing to them for housing.
When Robin of Loxley sorry, Robin of Lethbridge Housing starts stealing from the Middle Class to House the Poor, the BC and Sask Addicts who know our Language (100% of them) will come rushing here with first class plane tickets in hand provided by Councils of other cities. Mind you, they may not be able to land because the runway is to short, or disembark, because we dont have ladders tall enough, but thats another story for later.

I digress, So………, much like what happened with Medicine Hat and their Housing Project, they declared Housing issue solved and 4 months later 150 addicts/homeless showed up to get a nice shiny home! I expect no difference here!
Then the “Eyerollers of Lethbridge” {EROL) will come out with their best thought yet “Wha Happen”?
Meanwhile the Lawlessness Committee will be trying to figure out what is causing this? Perhaps they should invite the EROL and those that wish to destroy the city of 103,000 for the sake of 250 and growing , and ask WHY?
Then because our shiny new Agri-Center doesn’t hold animals perhaps we can cordon off the streets of downtown and call it the new Lethbridge Zoo! There is value to this because then toursists will side step the feces thinking it belongs to the donkey with the big ears as opposed to the thing bent over like a paper clip high on meth??? I even have an answer for the addict using his/her coat given to him free, to wipe himsel!, We can disquise this by giving Coats to the Donkeys, sheep, cattle etc that roam freely on our downtown streets?

An inspiring note for Lethbridge from me.
“Build 300 homes for the homeless, you will need 400, build 400 you will need 600, build 600…… well you get the idea. A quote from my Bible. “He who doth build many houses first, wins an endless supply of occupants.”!!

(I suppose we could hire 30 Norweigans so the addicts don’t understand what they have been given, but I think they will probably guess correctly!)

Marshal Smiths pilot ptoject will destroy 2 cities guess which two?
What is Red Deer’s solution? I have no doubt they are looking at Robin of Loxley solution, put em in the residential areas, cuz then downtown will be ok! Can’t wait for the Eyerollers to figure that one out or for that matter the REST OF LETHBRIDGE!

Your choice really, as each section of Lethbridge tries to go into protectionism the following will evolve. West will insist Robin of Loxley shafts South and North Lethbridge and South/North will invoke the Fair share of the shaft” rule! After all Addicts can ride a bus, right? So the next step will be the Eyerollers of Lethbridge will form a advisery committee to Robin of Loxley.

The distribution will be one “truly homeless person for Westside, and 1 truly farked drug addict with mental defficiencies for South and one for North, one truly homeless person for Westside………. I think you get the idea. Gotta keep-em near rhe services,right! Where are they installing the services? North/South side. Why? (Angels singing in the background), “its where the Addicts are” according to the “rewriters of the Holy Scriptures”!
PS- Just realized Robin of Loxley is quite appropo because we all may be wearing Chain Mail to go to Walmart in a few years. 🙂
Signed- Doomsday Dennis

Last edited 5 months ago by Dennis Bremner
DougCameron

Ditto from me Dennis. I’m Dougie C. and I approve this message.

biff

i hate to bring this up, but is there a point where the public interest is better served by not reviving overdoses on the street? i do not bring this up because i am suddenly cold and heartless. however, might it prove a wake up call for addicts to seek help, voluntarily, to see the bare reality of where their choices may inevitably lead. it certainly would allow nature to do its part to remedy the issue of growing legions of synthetic drug addictions and the related crimes that pay for those addictions.
for certain, the cost to us all in terms of money to deal with chronic, repeat overdosing is substantial enough, but it is further a massive drain on the health and energy of our responders, which in turn impacts the whole. moreover, there is the ongoing crime and degradation of the quality of life of the whole, as well as for businesses that are directly adversely impacted by the effects of an ever growing number of hardcore addicts – growing because of the grand number of overdose revivals. as we keep alive current addicts, there are more joining in. on our present course, it is mathematically incorrect to expect that hardcore, synthetic drug addicts will come to outnumber non-addicts? there is nothing we have in place that is reducing the numbers of hardcore synthetic drug addicts – those numbers are growing year over year.
we do have some other options: legalise and provide quality drugs, such as real opium, which would be far less an expensive approach. free opium would mean no crime related to paying for a habit that is artificially expensive due to it being illegal. opium is less addictive than the synthetics currently ravaging the world, and thus, treatment outcomes would most likely improve quite notably. legal opium would also greatly reduce overdosing due to quality control and measured dosing. this would not necessarily get everyone off the street, but it would pretty much eliminate drug related crime and improve the safety and well being of users and regular folk.
we have another option, which would be to set up a community far from the rest of “us”, where drugs could be provided, where addicts could be housed and fed and looked after, and where addictions treatment could be made available. costly, yes. but, likely not more costly than what cities are paying at present, both monetarily and with regard to the downgrade in quality of life of for all.

Dennis Bremner

I never got a chance to attend the Lawlessness Committee meeting this morning, I am having trouble with the “Ole ticker”.
I think they have the will to try and change things downtown.The issue, much like Belleville Ontario is the size of the downtown. When Kingston, puts pressure on the Addicts/Homeless they move out to Belleville and other adjacent towns. As soon as Kingston gets slack, they move back. (I lived for 5 years in both places)
The easier you make it for addicts to live in your downtown, the more that will come. The Religious and the nonprofits do not distinquish between groups so everyone is “homeless”.
So homeless and a criminal, or homelss and an addict, or legitimately homeless, is not sorted at any level. As police crack down on the criminal element in the downtown, you will find the damage in the downtown drops, but there is a corresponding increase in crime in the “burbs”. As police try to control crime in the burbs, you get a corresponding increase in crime downtown.
LPS has produced a new crime map. Its more difficult to determine actual crime data then the last one, but you can keep track of the numbers fairly easy. So as the Lawlessness Group comes out with ways to control the criminal element, you will find the same ebb and flow from downtown to the burbs, as every other city has experienced.
If LPS is ineffective or is not supported by the Legal System then the ability to survive and consume in a poorly controlled society then attracts more criminals.
As mentioned 6 years ago, in my many rants, Lethbridges position geographically is not to be envied. Closeness to the US Border ensures big league criminals an “in here”. Adjacent to the largest reserve in Canada and there previous inaction other than to boot dealers out, which resulted in the users following did not help. Being used as an experiment by UCP is also not an advanrage, and finally having experts in every facet of Drug life and no experts on how to protect a downtown, a society, and its residents makes the entire fiasco, a fiasco!
Have you seen any experts in how to protect your downtown from the people who believe “you serve them where they are”? Ever seen a debate between the two groups? I never have!
As far as drug legalization, Prior to people dropping like flies from what they were consuming, the inattention to consumption resulted in a few, but, expected deaths.

Marijuana as an good example.

When it became legal, people clammered to the licensed shops. It took about 15 minutes in Millenium time for dealers to up their game and another 15 minutes for those that used legalized shops to realize there was better stuff elsewhere. So you see consolidation of MJ providers and more and more people going back to the street dealer.
Legalizing safe supply will become a mundane consumption quicker than that 15 minutes for MJ. BC is doing what I consider foolish because addicts will use the safe supply as a fall back when broke. If BC does not keep up with the best stuff on the street or the “newest and hottest drug” then, when payday arrives they will go for the stuff that is the most potent/popular on the street. If they do keep up, they have just become the biggest drug dealer in Canada! Which in turn motivates dealers to produce something more and more popular. If you do not keep up, then providing safe supply allows a user to concentrate on what he/she needs most. Money! So property crime will rise with a safe supply where better drugs are available from dealers.
Number of deaths will drop temporarily as the novelty unfolds but we will encourage new users and we will be back to the same death levels as before.
The sad part, we have to hope BC continues and Alberta contines what they are doing. As soon as Alberta Addicts find out that BC has a safe supply and is giving it out for free. We will see a drop in Addicts here, but not until then. If BC does not go ahead, then we are in the poop, literally!
Of course Provincial Politicians will take credit for the drop in crime in Alberta if BC proceeds, but it will be the move to BC that will actually do it.

Last edited 5 months ago by Dennis Bremner
JimO

As a fellow person with ticker problems, look after the ticker.