From: Rick Knodel
Issue: High increases in provincial/RDOS taxation on Willowbrook area properties
To any who are concerned, you may find this interesting and an opportunity to get yourselves organized. Here are some points to keep in mind.
- This problem was caused by the province; where the RDOS fell down was they administered this massive increase in a crass uncaring manner with absolutely no concern for the undue financial hardship this would cause already beleaguered residents.
- The large majority of the fires the Willowbrook Fire Department deals with are grass fires that if not tended to would become forest fires and cost the province hundreds of thousands to fight. That alone is enough reason for the Province to fund this fire hall.
- This is a gov’t that tells us it recognizes that there are severe problems in this province with unaffordable housing, seniors poverty, child poverty and homelessness (54 families registered as homeless in the Oliver area alone and those are just the registered apparently there are more yet living in RVs and with family that not registered.)
- The RDOS tells us it has no knowledge of a fire coverage agreement with the observatory yet it looks as if they collect the $1500.00 revenue from them each year according to the budget info under the line item revenue. So who made this deal?
- If my information is right the Observatory should be assessed by the commercial mil rate and would be considerably higher. As is it is not even paying what the average increase is. Maybe MP Dick Cannings should be involved here it is a federal institution.
- Looking at the budget this problem is not going away.
- Publicity is your friend in this fight.
- This is more of a threat to you than the flooding and if not dealt with will continue.
- Be prepared for more increases in the water rate also. The RDOS is proving itself unable to run this in an economical business like fashion as the “MMM” group study laid it out. The previous owners managed without grants and even turned over a surplus of $22,000.00. Eighteen months down the road a 230% increase in operations and administration cost; not one of the capital improvements done, and boil water notice the whole time.
- The RDOS public works dept, the finance dept, and the emergency services dept. all keep changing management. That is making it impossible to get consistent answers. These are very good jobs and some have changed a number of times in the last 5 years is there an upper management issue or a toxic workplace problem? When we attend these meetings the RDOS managers tell us the cost to expect and what can and will be done and or allowed. We now know not to believe any of what the tell us and by the time the lie is exposed the managers have left and the answers have changed considerably.
- If we can amalgamate with another fire dept. we need to find out now.
- If we cannot then we need to arrange a referendum if to suspend operation pending a provincial funding option or if the residents can continue with the current or upcoming rates. If needed this referendum should happen with the upcoming civic elections.
- The RDOS must join with the Thompson-Nicola regional district in supporting director Mel Rothenburger (area “P”) in his motion for funding of rural small base fire depts.