Monday, June 30, 2008

Tax, Tax, and More Tax - Vecchiato's Voice

Tax, Tax, and More Tax
by Cathleen Chance Vecchiato
Feeling that newly assigned tax stress, the type that brings bruxism to your anxious dreams? Rest assured. You are not alone. The following was forwarded to me by another Township resident who, like others, sees our tax increases as a loonie grab. If you can make the time, join the Property Tax Protest, Wednesday, July 2nd, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Langley Township Hall, 20338 65 Avenue. In fact, save yourself the postage and submit your property tax form.

Property owners in Langley Township have been hit this year with the second highest tax increase in the Lower Mainland.

For the last several years, our mayor and council members have increased spending at three times the rate of inflation, even taking into account the population growth. This has created an unfair burden on homeowners in the Township, who have seen no corresponding increase in services.

Many Township residents have no access to municipal water, sewer, garbage pickup or public transit yet they are being taxed as if they lived in West Vancouver. We are concerned that our municipal government is on a spending spree, buying golf courses and restaurants at our expense.

This friendly demonstration is being held to remind our elected officials that their job is to manage our hard-earned money wisely and responsibly. You're invited to join us on the picket line, to stop by to sign a petition or to just show up to lend your support.

* * *
So where are the increases going, and what amenities or quality of life issues are we receiving? I’d like to do a random comparison, so chose 2000 for the fiscal property tax year. In 2000, a ¼-acre lot in Brookswood (land only) was assessed at $142,000. For 2008, the same was assessed for $350,000. What is relevant, however, is the increases in “services” for individuals applying for the basic home owner grant.
I calculated that my monthly payments show an increase of 13%, which will finance the following projects above and beyond what we already pay for:
·--- $40,400,000 for storm water, water and sewer projects
·--- $19,300,000 for Engineering road works
·--- $8,100,000 for Recreation, Culture, and Parks
·--- $34,500,000 for Langley Events Centre

Having worked in industries aligned with civic structure, I am well aware of Engineering’s clout and the common practice of padding one’s budget, then having to use it all, lest you receive less the following year. From my understanding, our elected officials have no say over staff issues. Muriel Arnason told me before her death that all personnel issues go through Township Hall Administrator. I can see the “Help Wanted” ad right now:
Want benefits? Do you follow directions? Are you a team player but understand all teams have a leader? Apply at the Township of Langley. You’ll be glad you did!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Congratulations ! Whoever You Are - Township Tax Protesters - Wednesday July 2nd - 1 to 4 PM at Township Hall !

What To Do This Weekend ! LOL
It's just glorious to see that despite the recent flurry of outrageous, incestuous, despicable and very questionable and suspect endorsements from all the political self serving cabal elite in Langley for the incumbent "Good Ole boy's Club" that at least there are some obviously ordinary people, taxpayers, that clearly are not happy with the status quo of the present Spend, Borrow and TAX increase Good Ole boy's on Mayor Alberts Langley Township Council slate
Today I was both pleasantly surprised and very heartened to find the above flyer on my car's windshield at a local mall (double-click here to see the whole flyer in large detail to print it & distribute it to?). Whoever you are congratulations for finally seeing the light. Who are you though? Our volunteer photographer, Bob, will be there on July 2nd to get pictures and story details of your protest. Good luck and we at LFP hope you have a great turnout and this Editor certainly hopes that you notified all the media about this as nothing to date other than this flyer has caught my attention about your protest.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Susan Semonick On Schools - Trustees Board of Education Meeting Report of June 17, 2008

Another school board meeting under my belt. If you go to the school district web site and look at the strategic plan, the achievement plan and the district review report, you will have most of the info presented. If it’s not posted request it to be.

District Achievement Contract
One thing that struck me was the fact that it was stated that up to 200-grade eight students fail in numeracy each year because of the transition from elementary to high school. They are hoping that the middle school will reduce that number. Individual secondary school failure rates were not given.

Strategic Plan
Comments were made by one trustee about how well the district is doing and how all the documents are aligning to better improve student achievement. Interesting that unlike the District Achievement Plan which seems to be improving, the Strategic Plan document is going the other way. Why is the strategic plan a one-year plan? It used to be a document with a five-year scope – long term planning. Even the new District Achievement Plan is written to cover three years.

Why is the “development of a comprehensive plan of policy review administered by the Board” a ‘next step’ for 2008-2009 when it is already included in policy as one of the Secretary-Treasurer’s annual tasks? In fact, if I remember correctly, it was Trustee Hogeterp who was supposed to review policies during her past stint as trustee. Yes, it should have been done and still needs to be done - but isn’t it a given?

District Review Report
Dr. Keven Elder, superintendent of the Saanich School District presented his report. Again, a lot of back patting on the part of trustees.

Recommendations from the North Langley Consultations
There were boundary changes for West Langley and James Kennedy effective September 2009. What was stated was that it will only affect about 83 students so it is supposedly not a big deal. In my humble opinion any time anything affects students it should be considered a thing of importance. One trustee stated that she had not heard from anyone about this. There might be very good reason - they may have not known it was going to happen. Although, I do know that the PACs of the affected schools were given information beforehand that these recommendations would be going before the Board. Looking at what was done, I believe only the 40 or less now in the James Kennedy French Immersion courses will be unhappy if their child is not able to continue there. Since it is a district program, there is little chance of that though. West Langley is down in enrollment so this change may help or may not considering that the students that wish to go to WLE from this area already are.

Other Observations
There was a bit of barb throwing between Bech and Burton but other than that it was very uneventful.

Trustee Hogeterp is in full election mode, saying the same things numerous times. Considering the again jam-packed agenda with all the presentations slated, you would have thought that this trustee would have made her statements only once to allow an unhurried question period. When you become so repetitive people stop listening anyway.

Trustee McVeigh seems to be getting into election mode also with putting forward two motions dealing with energy management.

We heard from Trustee Ross more than usual also, to our disdain. He does get an ‘A’ for effort but an ‘I’ for content.

I am still working on the Indemnity review so it may be ready for September.

Hope the coming year proves to be a benefit for the children.

Respectfully Submitted
Susan Semonick...