Wednesday, 15 April 2015 13:48

Reader appreciates councillor’s response, but...

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Councillor Gord Budd was not happy with an article I wrote recently. Predictably he attacked the messenger instead of the message.
I had indicated the City was less than honest by suggesting we were getting a three per cent tax increase when in fact it was  nine per cent. 
The mayor had also suggested they were doing “more with less” when in fact our spending is up 29 per cent from 2014. 
I stand by those comments. The mayor had also indicated he didn’t feel he needed to justify the City’s actions. You will notice Councillor Budd did not question my facts.
Strangely, Councillor Budd suggested I should be attacking the provincial and federal governments for their fiscal performances. The difference I would suggest is that  provincial and federal borrowing is being paid back through revenue obtained from growth in the economy as opposed to the City increasing our mill rate to pay our debt. Neither of those levels of government have raised our taxes by 55 per cent in the past five years and if they had, then it wouldn’t be only me writing letters.
Not all debt is bad and sometimes is very necessary. It becomes problematic though when you need to take on new debt to pay interest on old debt. In our case the City simply is raising our mill rate to cover our obligations.
I would challenge Councillor Budd to name even one other City in Canada that carries the level of debt per capita that Swift Current has, and at the same time has had a 55 per cent tax increase in the past five years.
I don’t understand why Councillor Budd seems to think he and his council should be above reproach on city matters. 
They are our representatives and when questionable actions take place it is our civic duty to speak up. I can understand why citizens are reluctant to write letters about civic matters, as they don’t wish to be subjected to personal attacks.
Mr. Budd suggests my way of thinking is “old school”.  Well if old school is being forthright, honest and fiscally conservative I guess I am guilty as charged.
Councillor Budd’s comments certainly echo those of the mayor, in that they feel there is no need to have to defend, justify or be accountable for their actions. That kind of thinking has gotten us into this debacle. A little more honesty and humility would go a long way to restoring their reputations.
I would suggest that Councillor Budd in the future would have more credibility if he addressed the issues rather than using personal attacks on anyone who dares question the actions of council.
Don Robinson, Swift Current, Sask.

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