In my opinion, voting in a referendum with a simple yes or no is inadequate in terms of funding another large capital infrastructure project under the North Cariboo Recreation & Parks (NCRP) taxation function. Asking a single question that will have a large financial impact in isolation of other discussions is not fair; nor does it provide a complete picture of how things are connected.
Here are four reasons why I am voting “No” on June 19.
Taxation boundary should be modernized:
The NCRP boundary was established in 1981. It has never been updated. In many areas, one resident pays recreation tax but their neighbour does not. As such, there are residents who do not pay recreation taxes but are benefitting from the services paid for by others. This does not align with the spirit and /or intent of “subregional recreation.” The info sheet provided to residents in 1981 states: “The whole community would be involved in using and paying for the operation of these and other facilities.”
Question not clear:
This past week a mail out titled “Pool Upgrade Referendum” was received. Nowhere in the brochure is the actual referendum question. On page two, reference is made regarding the construction and operating costs resulting in a tax increase of $45 per $100,000. This is quite different to the referendum question that speaks to increasing the taxation limit to the greater of $7 million or a tax rate of $3.23 per $1,000 ($323 per $100,000).
NCRP needs service review:
The NCRP was established based upon the premise of having a system that “better reflects the community of people presently interacting in their leisure time activities, build a new and improved system of providing recreational opportunities for all citizens.”
The system is not meeting the needs of the residents who pay, nor the spirit and intent upon which the function was established.
The tax rate is the same for both the City of Quesnel and Cariboo Regional District residents but the facilities in the rural communities are under-funded.
The entire function needs to be understood so decisions are not made in isolation of the bigger picture.
Fair share not allocated to outlying areas:
In 2021, the total Tax Requisition for Recreation is $4.1 million with Electoral Areas A, B, C and I contributing $1.6 (39 per cent) and the City of Quesnel contributing $2.5 (61 per cent).
In terms of residential tax, CRD residents pay more NCRP taxes than Quesnel residents.
The City of Quesnel’s contribution is greater overall due to the higher percentage of industry, commercial and businesses being located within City boundaries.
We pay more recreation tax than other similar rural facilities in the CRD and other adjacent regional districts but receive the least services. We do not receive the benefit of being part of a large function that receives so much industrial, commercial and business tax.
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