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HELSTON: When politicians give you cash back, don't complain

Charlotte Helston is the Vernon reporter for InfoNews.
January 29, 2016 - 8:30 AM

It’s not uncommon to hear people grumble about rising taxes, but have you ever heard someone complain about getting a few bucks knocked off their bill? I sure hadn’t until recently.

Last week, the City of Vernon sent out a press release saying it was returning $232,734 from a hospital levy back to taxpayers. An offset of funds due to the dissolution of the Columbia Shuswap Regional Hospital District left the city with the surplus. During budget discussions, council voted to give the money back to taxpayers — a return of about $8.57 for the average home.

Now, I thought our story ‘City returns cash to Vernon taxpayers’ would earn rave reviews from readers. Who doesn’t like a few extra bucks, even if it is just the price of a new T-shirt?

And perhaps some were happy, but others took to social media disappointed with council’s decision. Many argued the money should be given to the hospital — not taxpayers. Readers, I underestimated your generosity.

But I would like to point out the alternative. Say the city decided that instead of giving that money back to taxpayers, it was going to donate it to the hospital. If people knew council had the option of giving it back and didn’t, how would that go over? One city councillor tells me taxpayers were the source of the money, which is why they decided to return it to them.

I’m not sure the city had much of a choice in the end, but taxpayers do. You could take that $8.57 and donate it to the hospital yourself. Heck, you could probably convince a few friends to do it too. Light a few bulbs for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital campaign. Or convert it to pocket change and keep it handy for plugging those pesky downtown parking meters everyone’s always complaining about. What about using it to hire a young fellow to shovel out the snowy sidewalk by your house, or putting it towards the next borrowing referendum?

There’s always something to complain about — and City Hall will never please everyone — but hey, at least this time you have the final say about how how those funds are used. So, how will you spend it?

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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