(Editorís note: The following letter was addressed to Pembertonís mayor and council. A copy was forwarded to The Question for publication.)
I recently took the opportunity to review the 2014 Preliminary Budget that was released in November 2013. I then took the opportunity to educate myself and make some comparisons between our 2013 property taxes in the Village of Pemberton compared with the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
The Pemberton sewer and water charge includes a suite and garbage paid to Carneyís Waste systems, an alternative to taking garbage to the industrial park and paying a per bag fee during sporadic hours when the service is available. It is interesting to note, that a home assessed at $1,100,000 in Whistler pays $793.47 less than we do in Pemberton, even with a $400,000 higher assessment.
I recognize that our $700,000 assessment gets us ďmoreĒ in Pemberton than in Whistler (think new home with yard versus 30-year-old A-frame in Alpine Meadows). A $1,100,000 assessment is more typical of a home in Tapleyís Farm. There is also a 25-min. drive between the options, with added costs in insurance, fuel, repairs and maintenance, etc.
I donít profess to have all the answers, but would like to strongly encourage that boundary expansion should be the first priority of staff, mayor and council. I do not want to pay more tax for a barn, a bridge or a field house at this point. Iíve heard it suggested that the boundaries of Pemberton could/should include the fire response areas and support that idea. Presumably the area C residents that rely on Village of Pemberton Emergency Response teams also use the facilities and services that are funded by our village taxes.
I recognize boundary expansion may not be popular amongst all residents, but if you take a step back and look objectively at the situation, it is clearly the best solution for the community as a whole. Boundary expansion would result in a broader tax base with which to absorb the costs of offering services.
Additionally, I would encourage the village to review their spending relative to the population being served. We are being taxed out of the affordable housing option. Young families, which are the bulk of constituents, are being squeezed on every front.
Please take a step back and look to a BIGGER, more viable future.