To the editor:
City hall staff are still quietly working on a plan to create a new type of tax on the land where your home and business sits. Believe it or not this new tax would cover the costs of getting rid of the rain that falls on your property.
It would be a tax like your water bill or the sewer surcharge to cover the costs of delivering the city’s waste water to the sewage treatment plant.
The proposal for this tax on the rainfall tax first came to light in early 2016.
The big question since then has been how to sell the public on the idea.
The answer is no surprise: hire consultants.
Aecom, the consulting firm, will conduct a "financing study" of the city's new stormwater management plan.
That plan, approved by council, requires the city to spend about $150 million dollars over the next 20 years on new storm sewers and the like.
"To support the current and future stormwater management needs, while providing sufficient levels of service, and to improve the condition of our watercourses, available funding opportunities beyond current property taxes must be explored."
What the Request for Proposals doesn't say is why a straightforward tax increase isn’t good enough. We can guess why the politicians want an exotic new tax separate from property taxes.
It leaves room on the property tax bill. Otherwise where will councillors get the money they need to spend on their pet projects such as a new art gallery on the waterfront?
No matter it means a complicated new taxing mechanism and hiring bureaucrats to make it work.
Now that the contract's been signed, get ready for “consultations” with plenty of earnest handwringing from guys in $2,000 suits.
The cost for this public relations boondoggle? A cool quarter of a million dollars.