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General News · 15th August 2018
Jack Wills
These bylaws authorize the SRD to borrow up to 6 million $ and increase your property taxes by $.25 per $1000 of assessed value. When this passes, your taxes will be increased by $75.00 for a property assessed $300K (more if your assessment is higher) and we will be on the hook for (up to) a $6 million debt.

This in addition to the proposed $85 parcel tax for community hall and the several hundred thousand $ debt for the Whaletown Park.

Hey kids, we are hearing about lack of affordable housing.We ALREADY have nearly the highest property tax rates in this Regional District. Could this affect housing costs?

All you have to do to approve this additional tax (proposed in mid summer!) is to do nothing.................clever, eh?

If you object, you have to FIND the Electoral Response Form, PRINT it, and MAIL it to the SRD.
They make it hard to respond.
I will make it easier.

Here is a link to the bylaws

http://www.strathconard.ca/sites/srd.civicwebcms.com/files/media/Bylaw%20No.%20321%2C%20322%20Notice%20of%20AAP%20%28Public%20Notice%20Board%29.pdf

Here is a link to the form

http://www.strathconard.ca/sites/srd.civicwebcms.com/files/media/Bylaw%20No.%20321%2C%20322%20Elector_Response_Form_.pdf

OK, Now it is up to you

Clarification
Comment by Bernice on 29th July 2018
1. The links to the AAP process, the documents required, and the exact wording of the proposed bylaws are readily available on the home page of the SRD.
2. With minimal use of the search function of the SRD website more information about this project, where the funding is coming from and the intentions of the bylaw proposal , are readily available.
3. The statement that our taxes will increase as soon as this is passed, is incorrect. They would only increase if it were necessary for the SRD to borrow money to complete the project.
In "Additional Information Regarding the AAP process for Bylaws 321 and 322" the SRD states:

"Under Bylaws 321 and 322, the SRD is proposing to establish a service to provide broadband infrastructure through the Connected Coast project as well a loan authorization bylaw to provide financing for the project if required, although the project is anticipated to be fully funded through federal and provincial government grants. "

4.While many may be happy with their internet service, many are not- it is either unavailable to them due to location on the island, or it is unreliable or it is expensive for the amount of service one actually gets

5. The proposed tax to support the continued viability of our community halls is not automatically an $85 increase in our tax bill. Again the wording that has been used is "up to $85" depending on the requests from the organizations, which must be approved by their memberships.
Sadly misinformed
Comment by Chris Walker on 22nd July 2018
While we appreciate the efforts of some of our community to ensure the best possible value for our tax dollars, these efforts should not involve spreading erroneous information as is the case with Maureen's comment above.

Firstly, Maureen incorrectly claims that Cortes is "already getting" First Responder service. If that were the case then the Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association (CIFFA) would not be proposing to add the service. I believe Maureen might be confused as to what 'First Responder' means in the context of fire departments which is the added capability of volunteer firefighters to respond to acute medical calls and provide basic emergency medical services until the arrival of the ambulance.

The geography of our island, and the fact that we have fire halls in Mansons and Whaletown, and a duty officer who is ready to start driving within 5 minutes 24 hours a day, mean that we are potentially able to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency significantly ahead of the ambulance, and provide critical assistance while the ambulance is on route, and then assist the paramedics once they arrive. Additionally, the fire department first responders would be able to provide service while the ambulance transports a patient to Quadra or if they are already on a call.

Maureen's second claim that "the cost will rise to the maximum allowable" is entirely her own opinion and not supported by CIFFA's history of annual operational cost increases which are set to keep pace to the inflation rate.

The bulk of the additional funding that is being requested is for medical training for volunteers who are willing and able to commit to the substantial time and responsibility to become first responders. The $45,000 is a high-end estimate for the first years equipment and training and drops significantly because we will be certifying our own members to become trainers.

We would add that most of the additional medical equipment that the fire fighting vehicles will be required to carry to meet the First Responder requirements (totalling over $15,000 so far) has already been purchased by CIFFA through our own fundraising activities, at no cost to the taxpayer.

If Maureen or anyone else has questions or concerns about the First Responder proposal they are always welcome to call Chris at 6755.



Signed,

Chris Walker (CIFFA President and volunteer fire fighter)

Eli McKenty (CIFFA board member and volunteer fire fighter)
WHAT are these by-laws?
Comment by Heather Bruce on 21st July 2018
I looked up proposed by-laws 321 & 322 on the SRD site and it appears this isn't about senior housing (as I'd thought)...it is about INTERNET connection. We are very satisfied with our Twincomm connection, both the speed and the friendly, prompt, informative service.....I am not clear while we are supposed to pay more taxes for something I'm already paying for? Further, if this tax goes through, does this mean that Islanders (and others areas) hook up for free or close to it since they are footing a huge bill here?? Or do they have to pay a subscription fee as we do? I also heard through that very reliable source called rumor (not) that there is already cable laid across the Island by Telus, but people can't/aren't allowed to hook into it. If someone would care to enlighten me on all this I'd appreciate it. Maybe I'm the only dumb bunny here...but perhaps there are others, too.
You forgot about
Comment by Maureen Bader on 21st July 2018
You forgot about the additional cost of our volunteer firefighters. Although the SRD report stated that the additional cost to add first responder responsibility to the fire department would be $41,000 in 2019 and $25,000 every year thereafter, the bylaw stipulates a maximum additional $45,000 every year, for what we are already getting at no additional cost to local ratepayers. Be assured, the cost will rise to the maximum allowable, even though the cost was originally $25,000. I would urge people to download the form and send it in. This is another attempt to force taxpayers to subsidize tax consumers.