Previous North Saanich tax hikes unsustainable

North Saanich councillor Dunstan Browne replies to previous letter to the editor

Re: Credit for steady North Saanich tax rate goes to previous council (Letters, May 11)

I have never implied that Team North Saanich (councillors Craig Mearns, Conny McBride and myself) deserves full credit for council’s recent “no tax increase” budget. That belongs to our staff and the council who made it possible. We do claim credit for bringing the proposal forward to council as per our recent election promise. Coun. Ted Daly supported our efforts.

On request, staff did a great job in preparing a zero per cent increase budget. Only unnecessary expenditures were cut to get to zero per cent. That policy is certainly sustainable going forward.

All candidates in the recent election ran on a promise of fiscal responsibility. The previous council, led by Mayor Alice Finall with a sizeable majority, did not achieve that goal. In each year of its mandate the municipal expenditures increased by approximately five per cent and they spent over $400,000 more of taxpayers’ money than the previous year on an accumulative basis. By the end of their term, they had spent over $1.2 million more than the previous council during its term. That is certainly not a “foundation laid by good governance” as claimed by Ms. Brennan, nor does it represent “solid fiscal policies.” For a dormitory suburb without any growth, that is unsustainable and totally unacceptable.

The suggestion that I would attempt to deceive North Saanich residents is offensive and without any foundation at all. I welcome constructive criticism, but critics do need to get their facts straight.

Dunstan Browne

councillor

North Saanich

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