Tax increase makes it difficult to stay

Writer wonders how many of his friends will have to leave town because they can't afford the new tax increases.

Dear Editor

I am deeply saddened today, as I may lose more long time friends not to death but to taxes. I am reminded of the saying that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Five people I have spoken with this week are having to consider leaving the homes that they have lived in for many years because they cannot afford the increase in taxes and utilities. These people have played a part in growing Ashcroft, and it is the community they have loved and had hoped to spend the rest of their lives in. They have raised their families here or have moved here in their retirement because of the warm climate and because it provided an affordable living.

Some are asking where can I go. Others are saying I guess I will have to move into an apartment or a retirement home. I watched as my mother was forced to move into a retirement home and leave the home she had lived in for over 50 years. The costs rose and she used her entire life savings at that home. I asked if she would like to come live with me and so she left the area that had been a part of her life for so long and remained with me for three years. We grew much closer, but it was not the same for her. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend that time together, but know that she would have liked to remain closer to her home. My prayer when she moved up here was that she would die peacefully at home and she did. I then returned her to the home she had loved to be once again reunited with my father.

We as a community must find another way of easing the burden on those who have spent their lives contributing time and talents to our community, only to be cast off. How can belts be tightened and where can we cut spending? Where there is a will there must be a way.

Four years ago I became eligible for the senior grant and was so excited. That year property taxes rose 22 per cent effectively wiping out the grant. I believe that increase was provincial and now this one is municipal. It would seem as though our government has an insatiable appetite for spending. I do understand the need for maintaining our community, but at what cost.

Would the last person to leave, please turn the lights out? I don’t see how losing population can possibly help our community. It will only place a greater burden on those who remain. Our village is becoming far less appealing to those seeking a home here, with the medical shortage and now the rising cost of living. How can wellness await you here in the face of such a situation?

As did the Israelites leaving Egypt, so must those leaving our community trust in a higher power to guide their journey.

Mike Baldwin