CHEAP SEATS: Council needs to stay on track on tax rate changes
ED NOTE: It has been pointed out that the reference to a crash of Highway 37 -- which was intended to symbolize an act that would draw police response to non-urban areas -- is factually incorrect as Highway 37 is in fact under the auspicies of the OPP
There can be no question Belleville city council has taken the right first steps in questioning differing tax rates for fire and police in different areas of the city.
The question is will they continue or will they let political self-interest stop them.
Since amalgamation, urban and rural residents have paid different rates for police and fire, depending on where they live.
This has never made sense for police because crime anywhere in a city affects everyone in a city, whether it’s vandalism on the Memorial Arena or a fatal crash involving speeding on Highway 37.
Fire is a little trickier with professional and volunteer firefighters. But people paying less expensive rural rates but getting urban professional firefighter service is obviously wrong.
The problem is going to come at public meetings when those paying less are not going to want to pay more, even if they should.
But what they, and especially our politicians, need to remember, is that when they don’t pay their share, someone else has to do it.
And as was made obvious at Monday’s special council meeting, that difference is often made up by people living in much less affluent homes than those getting the break on their fire service rates.
That alone should be enough to convince councillors to make the change. That, and the fact it is so obviously the right thing to do.
I’m Bill Glisky and that’s the way I see things From the Cheap Seats
From the Cheap Seats can be heard Monday to Friday at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and noon on 95.5 Hits FM and Cool 100.1
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