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LETTER: Duncan should control expenses, not raise taxes

Next city council must be financially responsible

Dear Editor: The City of Duncan, on an ongoing basis, keeps raising property taxes.

Why? To cover increases in payroll costs.

In 2018, the Chief Administrative Officer was paid a yearly salary of $133,753 and in 2019. a yearly salary of $136,824. Salaries of these amounts do not need increases. These pay rates should be frozen until employee retires.

In 2018, the Mayor of Duncan was paid a yearly salary of $24.091. In 2019, the Mayor of Duncan was paid a yearly salary of $31,813, a 32 per cent increase. This is outrageous. The job of Mayor is a part-time only job. Some people today work a full-time job to earn this amount of salary.

Total City of Duncan payroll for 2018 was $2,516,785.Total City of Duncan payroll for 2019 was $2,718,266. A increase of $201,481 or eight per cent.

The City of Duncan has signed contracts with CUPE 368 in regards to union payroll contracts. Pay raises were 1.87 per cent in 2017, two per cent in 2018, two per cent in 2019, and two per cent in 2020.

In 2017 using a garbage collector as a example was paid earnings of $63,655 for the year. In 2020, the garbage collector was paid earnings of $67,584 for the year. A increase of $3,929 or six per cent. This does not include payment of employee benefits.

This procedure has to stop in the way of freezing pay raises to curtail the outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars. That is not to say to freeze wages forever, but in the next contract, have no wage increases.

The City of Duncan at one time had a contract with the Commissionaires to do the job of overseeing parking violations and by law enforcement. The contract payment was $81,756 per year and the Commissionaires patrolled all parking on City of Duncan streets. Effective March 1, 2018, the City of Duncan cancelled the Commissionaires contract and hired their own parking and bylaw enforcement officers at a cost $184,228 per year. This does not include payment of employee benefits.

Also the elimination of many streets in Duncan not being checked for parking violations. Signs are posted regarding parking and no one checks for violations anymore. Park all day and you will never get a parking ticket. You only see the parking bylaw officers in the City of Duncan downtown core only. Exceed your parking time and you will receive a parking ticket.

The City of Duncan has bylaw #3055 Boulevard Maintenace. The bylaw states that all boulevards must be maintained by the taxpayers and all weeds growing out along the sidewalk curbs also must be cleaned out. Just take a look at all of the weeds growing out along the sidewalk curbs and nothing is done by the bylaw officers to fine taxpayers for not obeying the bylaw.

Many streets in Duncan have yellow painted sidewalk curbs to address no parking. These curbs are so badly faded that the yellow paint is hard to notice with the naked eye. Some city streets are in need of pavement work. Why? St. Julien street next to the car dealerships has pavement that is cracked in so many places making it look like a cobblestone street somewhere in Europe.

In summary, if the City keeps raising property taxes, there should be money for bylaw enforcement and street maintenance as well, instead of the increases only going to a overpaid city employee payroll.

The next municipal elections will be on October 15, 2022. The next mayor and council to be elected must be a team that is financially responsible with taxpayer dollars. Simply raising property taxes each year to cover expenses is not responsible mathematics. Controlling the expenses is.

Unbelievable!

Joe Sawchuk

Duncan

Letter to the Editor