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Amherst needs to increase its tax base, or increase its borders

["Walt's World with Walter Jones"]
Walt's World with Walter Jones

Walt's World with Walter Jones

Our budget is set and we face an increase. I am sure the mayor and council and our CAO did the best they could with what they had.

If you look beyond the spin, rising costs small increase, I was surprised that the police budget was 24 per cent.

I don't know if that is reasonable. I know that Stellarton, a few years ago, was mulling over changing when their costs hit 24 per cent, but that was on a smaller budget.

I also remember when Springhill decided to join the county their cost was at 40 per cent, which was really unreasonable The future looks bleak.

The most telling sentence in this report, is,"a relatively flat assessment base." With a relatively flat assessment base we will face further increases in the future.

We already are above the county rate in both residential and business taxes and this does not bode well for the future.

I have been accused of being a bitter old man, who keeps harping on subjects when I know they will not change. I am not bitter. I know that some of the things I write about, have a small chance of changing, but I have been tilting windmills all my life and can't change now.

Henry Ford said, "there are people who say the can and people who say they can't. They are both probably right."

I try to belong to the can-do group. The town needs to increase its tax base. That is a truism, but it needs to be stated. I have heard the council and the mayor brag about this budget, but I have yet to hear anyone say how they will increase our tax base.

We are hampered by our higher tax rate even though the county raised its rate by 13 cents on a hundred, they are still well below ours and our borders.

I wrote an email to our premier asking that he advocate that the town limits be extended. What have you done? Don't think your MLA is going to get into this discussion. They need the votes in the county as well as the town so, no comment either way.

Walter Jones is a freelance writer living in Amherst. His column appears weekly in the Amherst News.

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