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General News · 31st August 2017
From people on Cortes Island

First, thank you for accepting the responsibility, along with Gail Ringwood and John Sprungman, for initiating and spearheading the petition for a tax on property owners to fund the Mansons Hall. But in the future, I don't think you should use the plural Cortes Island Community Halls in your communications to the people of Cortes. It is at best a shady tactic to try and give your efforts an all encompassing stature, when you know that neither the WCC, responsible for the Gorge Hall; nor the Klahoose First Nations Multi Purpose Hall, ever agreed to, gave permission to, or authority to use their Halls in your efforts to impose a tax! Be absolutely clear, this is singularly a tax to fund the SCCA and the Mansons Hall to get them out of financial trouble.

You indicated that this effort is spearheaded by you three people, but you somehow duped the SCCA into creating a motion to achieve your objectives, and to put the motion into Bertha's Marketer over the SCCA'S name and Board of Directors, not over your names. This seems a little misleading in trying to achieve your tax for the Mansons Hall.

This then raises the questions: Who will pay for your referendum? Why the property owners of course, and at an estimated cost of $18,000, this is another example of the SCCA spending money without knowing where it will come from. Or maybe they don't care about spending this much money because you know it will come from the property owners on their already excessive tax bills!

I don't think you understand the reasons for any objections to a tax. IT IS NOT BECAUSE WE DON'T APPRECIATE THE MANSON'S COMMUNITY HALL.
It is because of the way the SCCA manages the fiscal responsibilities of running the Hall. No individual spends money for anything without knowing where the money will come from. But this seems to be how the SCCA operates, and continually gets into financial trouble. When the SCCA Board was asked "how much does it cost to open the doors of the Hall", NOBODY could tell us! So how do they determine what to charge for this facility. I have been told that a table at the Friday markets, used to be charged $15. Now it is a minimum of $5. Did the Hall costs go down? No, if anything they have gone up, so where is the business like cost/benefit effort to pay for the Hall? How was the rent determined for all the other businesses that use the Hall? Can you guess how much money they would spend if given the keys to a tax base - a base that will assuredly go up over the years. An example of how a tax increases can be found at Union Bay, where a service tax was imposed in 2002, and now 15 years later is is at $345 per year.

The Hall is a privilege, not a right, and all users of the Hall should pay at least a breakeven amount to use the Hall. Nobody can object to this idea, except those who want something for free, without having to pay for it!

Almost two weeks ago, I e-mailed John Sprungman an idea to eliminate the cost of a referendum, and make funds available to run the Hall. I haven't discussed this with him yet, so here it is. Many of the people attending the SCCA's AGM have worked for many years to create a Community Forest. One of the backbones of this was to create a profit, which could be spent on Community projects for the benefit of all Islanders. You have spoken often about the Mansons Hall being the center of Community activities on Cortes Island. Then why not use funds generated for the benefit of all Islanders to pay for the Manson's Hall?

This would eliminate the need and cost of the referendum, eliminate the need for a tax on property owners, and solve the question of what to do with the profits created from the Community Forest! What do you say Sue - is this not a better way to solve the problem? AND MOST IMPORTANT, ELIMINATE THE DIVISIVENESS THAT HAS AGAIN ENVELOPED OUR ISLAND, LIKE IT DID 7 YEARS AGO!

Respectfully submitted
Rod Lee
Union Bay Parcel Tax--- Still confused?
Comment by Sue Ellingsen on 31st August 2017
I have spoken with Gord Mason who is the Union Bay Administrator. The $345 parcel tax is for all U.B. infrastructure. This includes Firehall (truck purchase etc) water system (soon to be installed water filtration system) and many other infrastructure related items.
Seems fairly easy to understand. This tax is no indicator of what the amount would be to core fund a hall. No relationship at all. Sue
Community resorces, supporting community resources
Comment by Jack on 31st August 2017
A fine idea Mr. Lee!
The SCCA has presented itself as an essential service that serves the entire island and is too big to be allowed to fail, at least in the minds of some.
Profits from logging of the community forests should benefit the entire island community, therefore the primary recipient of logging profits should be the SCCA, undoubtedly the most important organization on Cortes (again in the minds of some).
This does truly seem a good solution to share the resource, fund that hall, and end the divisiveness surrounding this issue.
I eagerly await a response to this idea and the other issues raised by Mr. Lee from the proponents of the tax to support the SCCA and Manson's Hall
Regards to all