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General News · 15th September 2018
Dietrich Schwarz
A Blind Tax Referendum
No fair decision is possible through a simple qualitative yes/no referendum question about new taxes. Every aspect about the taxes is quantitative in nature. If, for example, I am asked for an annual $ 10.- in support of a worthy cause, my answer will be: sure, take it. If you ask me for $1,000.-, my answer will clearly be: no, sorry, that is too much. If, however, the suggested amount is around $100.- I need to 1) know what kind of tax is proposed, 2) be able to estimate how much that will be for me and others and 3) how the amounts are projected to grow from year to year. On the basis of that kind of information I can decide to vote for or against the tax; without it I cannot. What do you think I should do when evident vote manipulations prevent me to make a fair decision?
The numbers along the above logarithmic scale may differ from person to person, but the principle remains the same for all: an informed decision is only possible with quantitative information about this quantitative subject. Votes will depend not only on the size and nature of the taxes, but also on the information provided before the referendum. After years of debate our director and her SRD coworkers refuse to provide the prerequisites for a fair referendum. Apparently they do not want us to know what we are doing when we vote. The non-binding referendum questions about new taxes seem like the thin edge of a wedge: once it is set in the log the sledge hammer is sure to follow.
information has been offered
Comment by De Clarke on 19th September 2018
The proposed amount of the "Hall Tax" has been repeatedly publicised and discussed over the last year or so. The most recent figure that I remember was approx $85/year/household, and that was assuming a flat, not value-based, assessment. That number was an upper limit, and any upward adjustment would require a fresh public process. That is my best recollection, anyway. I didn't experience any lack of quantitative information. When I asked questions, they were answered. The operating budgets of both Halls were made public.
small s service, big S Service
Comment by Wendy L. on 17th September 2018
At the Gorge referendum process meeting I asked Protective Services Coordinator Shaun Koopman if extending the Fire Protection Service included the First Responders proposal. No, it did not. As I understand the First Responder Service would be separate from the current Fire Protection Service, with it’s own maximum allowed tax requisition, similar to other taxation Services e.g. Grants-in-Aid, Planning and House Numbering.

At the August SRD Board meeting Cortes rep Anderson supported the following for Bylaw #315 - Cortes Island First Responder Service Opinion Referendum.
It is recorded as:
Anderson/Kerr: SRD 727/18
THAT Bylaw No. 315, being a bylaw to authorize the holding of a referendum to obtain the opinion of the electors for Electoral Area B (Cortes Island) regarding the establishment of a first responder service, be now introduced and read a first time.

Another assent process is proposed at this week's Board meeting. It's purpose - to hold an AAP/Alternate Approval Process, for proposed Bylaw #331 in order to amend the current Fire Protection to include wharves. We are told it will not add to the current costs of our Fire Protection Service.
THAT the deadline for submission of elector responses in respect of the alternative approval process for Bylaw No. 331 be established as 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Facts: 'things you can learn by attending meetings'
Comment by Chris Walker on 17th September 2018
By attending the public meeting on this topic last week I learned that:
1. This referendum is not to decide for or against the service extensions (with associated taxes). This referendum is to decide if Cortes will have a binding referendum for or against the service extensions, during which time the details of how much will be taxed, how the tax will increase and how it will be collected will be clarified. (Speaking for the Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association, we have clearly stated our estimated costs from the beginning of the process).
2. None of the proponents of these services wanted it this way. Neither did Director Anderson, who did her best to have just one binding referendum. This foolish two-step process was the will of the SRD.

There is enough misinformation and unfounded accusations flying around the internet. Do we really need more on the pages of the Tideline?
Very confusing with ambiguous questions
Comment by Gypsy Mama on 17th September 2018
What are we really being asked:
Do we want the tax?
Do we want to be involved in drafting the bylaw?
Does that actually mean'the district is imposing the tax, we just have the option of letting it happen without input.
How can we answer 2 questions with one yes or no?
Deja Vu
Comment by Nikie on 16th September 2018
Wow ... this seems awfully familiar for some reason.
Comment by Jack Wills on 16th September 2018
Quite right Dietrich. Until there is much more concrete information, one would logically have to vote to reject, regardless of what side of the issues they might be on.
You say, "What do you think I should do when evident vote manipulations prevent me to make a fair decision?" I believe my answer to that question would be the same as yours.