Letter to the Editor: Profit a tax by another name

Re: City of Grand Forks five-year plan (Bylaw 1996)

Re: City five-year plan  (Bylaw 1996)

The city has stated, “User fees will be set to recover the full cost of services except where council determines that a subsidy is in the general public interest.” With this policy in mind, the layman may be excused for being confused by the numbers in the five-year plan.

In 2015, for example, the electrical department appears to make a profit, and the user fees charged to the consumer should actually be reduced by some 13 per cent to break even. This “profit” of almost $589,000 is then largely siphoned off into general revenue and the balance seems to disappear into various reserves or surpluses.

This state of affairs holds for all five years of the plan. In other words, this profit is a tax by another name.

The water department, on the other hand, appears to “lose” money, and the user fees would have to be raised by about 18 per cent to break even.

These apparent contradictions raise a few questions:

1.  Is the five-year plan a tentative budget or is it just a document cobbled together to satisfy a bureaucratic requirement ?

2.  If it is indeed a budget, why have the above inequalities not been addressed as per city policy ?

B. Hardwicke, Grand Forks

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