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

Technology allows TNRD residents to see the heat

A new library program allows residents to borrow a thermal imaging camera and check for heat loss

Are you a victim of the thermostat wars?

The battle over the thermostat is quite heated in many households.

Community Income Tax volunteers will be at local libraries to help with tax returns

Lower-income singles and families can take advantage of free tax return service

Local News Briefs: Free Family Day weekend movie at the HUB

Plus an ice fishing derby, a Fancy Schmancy Tea Party, the Million Dollar Bursary is back, and more.

B.C. opioid overdoses still killing four people a day, health officials say

Kamloops, Thompson Cariboo region see an increase in deaths over 2017

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Most Read