Q4: 20 Questions for Langley Township Council candidates

Rick Green (for MAYOR) – We must establish a more intensive budgeting process looking at a variety of issues such as the ongoing substantial Operating Subsidy of the Langley Events Center and more. At the most a very minimum tax increase would be accepted ONLY after a comprehensive budgeting review looking into ALL aspects of Township spending and current priorities.

Petrina Arnason – Don’t Know. Local government is charged with a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that tax dollars are wisely spent.  I have made many public statements regarding the need for strong fiscal management and financial prudence so that we will be economically sustainable as a community. This requires a balancing of interests and prioritizing expenditure in order to ensure that we meet our commitments for fire, safety and infrastructure, as well as to provide expanded services to our rapidly developing area all within an appropriate budget envelope. I am very concerned that many families and seniors and low-income earners are struggling with the burden of rising taxes with no end in sight. If elected, I will promote the adoption of a comprehensive “cost/benefit” analysis framework to all larger public works and other amenities and expenditures that could negatively impact over-all affordability vis a vis taxes.  I would also work very hard to ensure that the TOL keeps taxes to their lowest possible level without jeopardizing livability and safety within the Township.

Solon Bucholz – YES. I think all communities must find a balance between appropriate tax rates and community infrastructure. My concern with tax rates is only when the local government lacks accountability with their spending while neglecting the needs of the community. Communities are built not with 4 walls and a roof but with planning, community services, easy transportation, good schools and a passion for each other’s needs and wellbeing which are paid for the most part through property taxes.

David Davis – Yes. If it comes to public safety.

Zoshia Ettenberg – I don’t know. What an open-ended question! Perhaps, perhaps not It all depends on the reasons and the other funding options.

Steve Ferguson – Yes, But we as a council must always be thinking outside the box, looking for new sources of revenues, ideas, and initiatives that SAVE taxpayers’ money. We cannot always go to the taxpayer for more money unless we have exhausted all other avenues.Charlie Fox – Yes, at approximately the rate of inflation. As an incumbent we have the lowest tax rate in Metro Vancouver, which I am proud of.

Clint Lee – Yes, my preference would be to see that it at most keeps pace with inflation

Patricia Lessard – DON’T KNOW, I am loath to an increase in taxation; a very strong business case would have to be presented to me to feel comfortable to vote on increased taxation. I would have to also feel extremely confident that we would have maximized the efficiencies in the budget.

Jackie Mandzak – Don’t know. This one is a hard question for me to answer.  I don’t support tax increases in general – however, if residents have need and the only way to meet that need is to increase taxes, then it must be a consideration.  The Township has seen large tax increases in the recent past, and is wary of new ones.  All efforts should be made to ensure that the taxes currently collected are used in the most fiscally responsible manner and that properties are paying the appropriate amount of tax to ensure fairness.  Like the residents who live here do with their personal budgets, the Township has to find a way to decrease unnecessary costs in order to fund priority issues. 

Kevin Mitchell – YES, but only it was the only way to deal with the needs of a growing community. I believe in zero base budgeting where tax increases are off the table until all other means of funding and expense reduction are exhausted.  The existing council is too willing to accept staff’s recommendation without tasking staff with the reality that taxpayers cannot take any more tax increases.

Scott Nichols – No. Not before the expenses of the Township are reviewed.

Kim Richter – NO. However, a lot will depend on the collective priorities of the new Council. My preference is to decrease taxes like Port Coquitlam did this past year but at minimum to hold taxes to no more than cost of living increases. I think there are efficiencies in the system that we could find if we used zero-based budgeting and better tracking of service usage.

Dave Stark – No. Stay to rate of inflation

Grant Ward – Yes. With the expected population growth of 2.5-3%, new amenities of parks and community centres are necessary, along with operational needs, additional taxes are necessary to maintain the health and quality of life our citizens have come to expect and why they want to continue to leave here.  

Blair Whitmarsh – Yes – If needed and in line with inflation.

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