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The mayor's cavalier attitude, supported by the majority of council, that it's only the cost of one pizza per month, or only $159.63 per year based on an assessed home value of $260,000, is misleading and fallacious. Even a cheap pizza/month means around $144/year. As one hard-working mother of two said: "We can't afford even that. We're part of the working poor and every penny counts. That's $720 over five years!" Also, how many homes now sell for $260,000 in Squamish? More realistically, we're looking at an extra $221.02/year tacked on to our taxes (based on $360,000 homes that have jumped in price). For many homeowners that is not a 2.5 per cent tax increase. That is closer to 21 per cent! Over five years, that is at least an extra $1,105. Apart from that, why should we feel grateful that our free-spending council will cap our tax increase in 2005 at 2.5 per cent? Why not zero? Were we not told by this council that all the Big Box, Wal-Mart, Factory Outlet, residential and business developments would bring in more taxes and so stabilize and reduce our taxes? Why doesn't council seek bigger and better community amenities from those developments which are being given prime Squamish locations, instead of, for example, a measley $100,000 from Wal-Mart? Why not seek developer or corporate sponsorships of the amenities?
Yes, it would be great to have lots of new amenities. Personally I would like to see the aquatic centre expanded. But, people do not come to Squamish for a sheet of ice, a soccer field, a race track, contrary to what some council members say. They come for Squamish's amazing, unique scenery, wildlife, and outdoor recreation. They stay because of decent infrastructure (roads, sewers, dykes, drainage, downtown and affordable housing). Right now much of Squamish's needed and necessary infrastructure is in a shocking state and should have priority over wanted amenities. If we want extra amenities, let's be creative plus financially and fiscally responsible and come up with new ways of funding those, besides having someone else's hand in our pockets. Vote "no" on Feb. 26th.
By the way, how much of our taxpayers' dollars has council spent on this amenities promotion (flyers, leaflets, brochures), publicity, advertisements and community forums?