Re: Councillor refutes North Saanich budget criticism (Letters, May 2)
Coun. Dunstan Browne implies he and two other councillors can claim full credit for a budget with no increase to the average household over 2011 levels.
The present North Saanich council has been in office for only a few months, since December 2011.
I would point out that it has benefited from the solid fiscal policies put in place by the previous council allowing for a zero tax increase this year. It has also benefited from work done by that council in putting in place talented staff members able to effect the necessary groundwork for policies.
In the 2008 election, Mayor Alice Finall and the other council members ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and careful budget planning. That council carried through on its promises by establishing expenditure caps on property tax increases, preparing an inventory of district service infrastructure in accordance with provincial directives, and establishing appropriate maintenance and replacement reserves for these essential services.
It seems very logical to me to point out that the fiscal principles necessary for the property tax direction this year is due to a foundation laid by the good governance of the previous council.
However, the mayor and councillors Celia Stock and Elsie McMurphy quite properly have alerted residents that some of the budget cuts required by the majority of the present council are not sustainable going forward.
In my opinion, North Saanich residents will not be deceived by any councillor who takes credit where credit is not due.