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General News · 29th September 2018
George McKenzie
This is both unfair and unimaginative. Taxing parcels of land is unfair. Parcels of land don’t use the halls. People do.
Assuming $85/parcel of land, this is what some people will have to pay:
A person with 2 parcels......$170
A person with 1 parcel.........$85
2 people in a land share......$42.50
20 people in a land share....$4.25
People on a liveaboard.........$0
People renting/caretaking.....$0

I ask once again, how is this fair ? It’s not.
This is extremely divisive and pits neighbours against neighbours.
And once they get their hands in your pockets they will no doubt want more money down the road. Who gets to decide how this money is spent ? Where’s the accountability ? What is essential and what isn’t ?
Perhaps the halls could balance their books and pay the bills with yearly memberships.
In any case this is badly thought out and the referendum should be cancelled until they can come up with a fairer more equitable funding model.
Alone in the woods together
Comment by Romina on 2nd October 2018
The value of my land is correlated to the maintenance and improvement of infrastructure that supports the community, both economically and in lifestyle, that surrounds it. The fact the I don't live nor on the path to living in either a ghost town or a wealthy enclave of hermits is very much related to the value of my property. If I never set foot in the hall, my plumber, paramedic and store clerk's families do use the halls. Their friends, relatives and neighbors use those halls too, whether making ends meet from Friday market, teaching classes, hosting events or using the play-school. Even if I so much as never look at either hall all year, I know their existence supports local events that corral and strengthen civic engagement, facilitate economic opportunities and connect dispersed individuals together. That is a necessity for a healthy and sustainable community economic and otherwise. Supporting infrastructure that makes Cortes a desirable place to live is not just a personal want but a need if the land on Cortes continues to hold any real value at all.
Comment by paul on 2nd October 2018
I'm land rich, currently rattling my bling AND I support hall taxes. Indeed, as Canadians we don't pay enough taxes; witness our national shame re our homeless population,etc
things that go up
Comment by De Clarke on 1st October 2018
,,,gabriel yes, it has always puzzled me that people are so delighted when their stocks and shares increase in value, or when their assessed property value rises - a successful investment! - and yet they get angry when taxes go up. As if taxes existed in some mystical vacuum insulated from the larger financial system.
Comment by Jon Knowles on 1st October 2018
Thanks for speaking up Mary Claire!
This is a beautiful strong statement which speaks , I'm sure, for many here who would also look beyond their own self interests and are willing to commit themselves to the betterment of the whole.
As a land owner I consider it an privilege and a duty to support this community in return for the positive things provided to me during my lifetime. And paying a small tax is the very least I can do.
User Pay
Comment by George McKenzie on 1st October 2018
Thanks for replying to my post. It seems like many of you want to turn this into an ‘us = poor’ / ‘them= rich’ issue. Cortes is made up of a diverse population in terms of age and wealth. While some wealthy folks will just pay the $85/year and not even feel it, many others will find this a burden that will immediately increase their taxes by 20%. Add to that a possible increase for first responders and fibre optic cables not to mention hydro and BC Ferry increases. Some portions of my property tax bill have increased by hundreds of a percent since the 90s. We are now paying some of the highest taxes in the region. No wonder affordability is a problem. Could not the regional director divide the tax pie in such a way that gives some support to the halls ?
The main point I was trying to make was that land parcels don’t use the halls. People do.
If this is allowed to go through what can be next ? A radio station tax ? A museum tax ? A Rainbow Ridge tax ?
One thing is certain. Everybody is in favour of more stuff as long as they don’t have to pay for it. How about living within our means ?
I would suggest that regular users of the halls wouldn’t mind paying a yearly membership of $85/year for individuals or $200/year for families......that is if it’s such a paltry amount as some people are suggesting.
Just my two cents...
Renters pay the tax
Comment by Michael Landry on 30th September 2018
No one rents out accommodation to lose money, all cost including taxation are added to the rent. People who pay rent, pay the tax.
poor riches
Comment by Stephen Reid on 30th September 2018
Are there are any unfortunate land rich people out there who own multiple properties but cannot afford the extra $85? They might be forced to sell off the extra piece and instantly solve the cash flow problem. FYI I hear its a decent selling market right now. Of course most working renters around here couldn't dream of having such a problem! But one thing I love about Cortes is how people from different walks of life show respect for one another.
For me, if the people speak for a tax, I will happily pay it. ( and hope for thriving halls ) We bought our house from local wages here and for that feel extremely lucky and fortunate. Owning land and building equity is very good for our situation. If the people speak no, I will be $85 richer. (and hope the halls dont suffer.) But no matter what lets not wish ill on our neighbours!
One side may come out on the short end of this divisive issue, but that doesnt make you the enemy of the ones who get their way!
Well said De, here's my $42.50 worth
Comment by Mary Clare Preston on 30th September 2018
I agree with you De, I'd prefer a value based tax, which would probably increase the amount I pay but, I'm in a pretty privileged place.

I would like to see our halls have solid core funding that enables a sense of stability for staffing and programming. I support public funding because it is democratic. Decisions about how the funding is allocated are done by a broader community base and can be more needs based.

I believe our society is stronger and healthier when we take care of each other and when there is a centre for community support and programming. Whether or not I take advantage of the support and programming, that it is there for those who do, benefits me because I as an individual benefit from being part of a healthy community.

I am happy to be paying Income Tax and Property Tax however it is frustrating to have so little say in how those funds are distributed. In general I would like to see my taxes go toward social programs and infrastructure rather than say… propping up the military/industrial complex or… bailing out banks, or …. Corporate welfare. Public Healthcare and Education are cornerstones of our Canadian Identity and though they are not perfect, I believe they mitigate the impact of the gross disparity of wealth that is present in our society. Our society would benefit from more of this mitigation. At the Regional District level of governance I believe supporting community centres is a continuation of an ideal to build social wellbeing. Yes this is a tax I can stand up for.
Comment by De Clarke on 30th September 2018
Seems to me there are some other kinds of unfairness that we might want to be considering, and maybe more urgently... For example: there's a chronic and painful shortage of housing on our island, yet so much of our housing stock is standing empty because it belongs to affluent people who can afford second or third "vacation homes"? Is that fair? Is fairness really the issue, and if so, what kind of fairness and to whom?

Many of our younger people have slim prospects of ever owning their own home. I have heard some say that if people really can't afford to live on Cortes, they should just leave. Should I suggest that if people really can't afford to pay the property tax on their parcels, they should just sell? Hardly seems neighbourly :-)

Personally, I prefer a value-based tax to a flat parcel tax. I think it would be more fair. I think a parcel tax is probably not the optimal method of assessment. If we ever get as far as discussing the language of a hall support assessment, I will probably advocate against a flat parcel tax. But (in my view) even a flat parcel tax is better than no baseline support for our community halls.

And (once again with feeling) imho this is not a question of "who uses the Halls." It's a question of what's good for a community. I pay for lots of things I don't use. I personally don't use VIRL, but I would no more think of objecting to tax-funding our public libraries than I would cut off my own foot to save money on shoes. I have no school-age children, but do I whinge about paying taxes for public schools? are you kidding? I mostly haul my own trash to the dump, but do I object to paying tax so that less physically able, busier, or carless people can have theirs picked up on Saturday mornings? it would be absurd!

More than half the events at our Community Halls are of no interest to me personally. That doesn't mean they're not important, and well worth supporting.
tax free investment?
Comment by gabriel dinim on 30th September 2018
If I own 2 parcels and live on one, the other is either a source of income or an investment accruing value.
Whatever social service tax I pay on my 2nd parcel may be construed as the cost of doing business, for the gains realized from the increased parcel value.
There are no free lunches.
Renters do pay at least a portion of the the taxes of their landlords, that is one of the reasons landlords have tenants.
The Directors of the hall boards are Cortes residents, they are resourceful and grounded, if there was a simple financial answer it would have been applied long ago.
Some of the directors on the hall boards are also land owners and they see the value added to the entire community by a small tax.
rattle your jewelry
Comment by Ian Lennon on 29th September 2018
"For our last number, I'd like to ask your help. Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And for the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry... "

-John Lennon
how many lots?
Comment by shirley on 29th September 2018
I'm just curious if anyone knows how many residential lots there are on cortes?
Hall Tax Alternatives
Comment by Heather Bruce on 29th September 2018
Unfortunately, land owners typically pay the taxes that benefit the whole community as well as local government, Provincial government, Federal Government. And typically, the land is taxed on it's value.

While your numbers are definitely true, I would ask what you would suggest as a more equitable solution? I don't consider NO funding as a solution to a community benefit. So...other than that....What are some better ideas? Certainly Cortes does not lack for creative thinkers!