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Council, city managers to blame for rising costs

The Editor, Re. "Taxes, union stance make vote decision" (Letters, The Tri-City News, Oct. 21).

The Editor,

Re. "Taxes, union stance make vote decision" (Letters, The Tri-City News, Oct. 21).

Like myself, Henry Pritchard has on occasion written letters to your newspaper and I've usually agreed with his position concerning property taxes and the general mismanagement of our money by city officials.

But I'm perplexed by the somewhat vague suggestion in his letter last Friday that Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart's and Coun. Selina Robinson's support for lower business taxes and council candidate Terry O'Neill's position relative to public sector bargaining has something to do with the continuing increase in residential property taxes.

While Mr. Pritchard goes on to say that he doesn't blame front-line workers for the increases to our property taxes - nor do I - I certainly place blame on those council members and city senior management who have allowed salaries and benefits at Coquitlam to have gone from less than $50 million in 2005 to approximately $66 million in 2009 - an increase of 33% in just four years. Continuing generous salary and benefits to employees plus potentially reduced revenues and not reduced business taxes will result in the city having to rely on its residential property owners to meet future shortfalls.

We have elected individuals who either don't have the financial acumen or guts to say enough is enough to union demands, even if it meant a strike and shutdown of certain services. Too many of these elected individuals or candidates - and they have recently been identified in The Tri-City News ("Labour group releases its list of endorsed candidates," Oct. 21) - have presumably given up their independence by accepting the endorsement and financial support from those same unions who are negotiating more benefits at our continuing expense.

So do I agree with the recent positions taken by Stewart, Robinson and O'Neill? Not always, but in these stated instances I do. Furthermore, I would rather have individuals who are prepared publicly to have a position on key issues than wannabe candidates who issue vague policy positions on tax restraint, transportation improvements, safe neighbourhoods or Riverview/Colony Farm concerns and yet not be accountable for anything if elected.

Murray Clare, Coquitlam