THE COVERED WAGON at the entrance of Historic Hat Creek Ranch.

The annual challenge of taxes

No one wants to raise taxes, so politicians let it go year after year until raising them an alarming amount is no longer an option.

Ashcroft utility users – seniors in particular – are facing a big tax hit next year. Water rates will double by 2020 and sewer rates will be not far behind.

On top of that, Council is proposing the elimination of the 25 per cent seniors discount that Ashcroft seniors have enjoyed for 40 or more years.

That’s a scary thought for seniors who want to stay in their homes.

As a property owner in Cache Creek, where utility rates are already half of what they are in Ashcroft, I imagine how I would feel if the home owner’s grant was suddenly gone. That’s a huge chunk of change to suddenly cough up.

Ashcroft Council is stuck between that rock and the hard place. The Village needs money to keep operating, but there’s no one to get it from.

Cache Creek has had the luxury of relying on revenue from the landfill for over 20 years to keep the Village going and to keep taxes low. I daresay, if the landfill had never existed, Cache Creek would be in the same position as Ashcroft.

But because it does exist, Cache Creek Council has been able to stash away a great deal of the revenue that it’s received over the years to bolster infrastructure and ease the financial void left by the landfill’s eventual closing. In addition, every year there is a slight increase in taxes and utilities.

Of course, unexpected floods can take care of a solid budget in quick time.

Part of Ashcroft Council’s reasoning for eliminating the senior’s discount is that young families are also in need of financial relief.

There is a difference, however. Young families can still find more work – add on jobs to provide more income. Seniors are on a fixed income and their days of labour are usually over, whether they like it or not.

However, half of the utility payments come from seniors, which means the Village is subsidizing a large part of them.

Unless Ashcroft suddenly attracts a stinky, noisy, ugly industry to town (that people don’t object to), the Village is going to be caught between raising taxes or closing facilities – and losing residents.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

Just Posted

Firefighters battling two blazes on Highway 1 south of Ashcroft

Highway has reopened to single-lane, alternating traffic led by a pilot car so expect delays

Fires on Highway 1, CN mainline keep Ashcroft firefighters busy

Two vehicle fires and a rail fire sparked within an 11-day span

Reports on seniors’ needs, downtown show way forward for Cache Creek

‘I hope they won’t gather dust’ says Cache Creek mayor

Counselling support available for those impacted by wildfires

New, confidential, free service in region designed for families or individuals

Local News Briefs: Come out and rock

Join Rawkn’ Art Camp participants as they show off their accomplishments, and stay for a concert

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read