Reporter Jeff Outhitt just wrote to me the following: I’m reviewing your campaign pledge, in which you said you could not support increasing property taxes to support the LRT proposal. I need to know if you intend to break that pledge or vote against the LRT proposal.
Here is my response:
Here is what I actually said in the election, still on my website, janemitchell.ca.
“I do not support increasing property taxes to cover the current capital shortfall of the LRT proposal. I was the councillor who asked that a line be inserted in the LRT motion that it would not go forward without council supporting how it is funded. This was included.”
I want to see two thrusts to this project.
1. Put the Bus Rapid Transit project back on the table.” DONE
” 2. A staff report on LRT showing various ways we might build Light Rail Transit without raising property taxes for the $225 million capital portion” DONE
Ideas for ways to decrease the property tax increase came to council a few weeks ago. They decreased the 1.5 percent increase by half to .75 approximately.
At present, the 1.5 to 2 percent proposed increase per year is for the capital shortfall, operating, regular transit, and a reserve fund. I still need staff to break out what is what in this amount as to my mind, the reductions above will cover the capital shortfall (and also most of the operating).
Update from staff: .3 of the 1.5 is regular transit, of the 1.2 % tax increase the RT capital component is approximately .64% with the operating / maintenance cost component approximating .56% .
Addition of new info: There may also be motions on the day that will find funds to cover more of the operating and capital. Regular Transit is increasing 25 % as part of the 1.5% increase .
As mentioned in the article by Tim Mollison, over 100 million was taken from the proposal before it went out to the next round of public consultations.
I am adding here:
I will not be saying how I will vote until you see me vote on June 15th, out of respect for the people presently sending me feedback. Someone may bring forward something important not taken into account.
It is too bad that councillors’ words are twisted to say we were against LRT in the last election when we were against the increase due to the government funding shortfall.
I am keeping my promise. It is too bad my comments were not included in the article. That is why I have this blog.
Everyone will know how I vote in time for the next election, as they all knew how I voted in 2009 before the last election. (This is assuming I run in the next election)
Sources for my comments:
25% increase for regular transit for Regular Transit from Memo from Thomas Schmidt answering questions posed by Claudette Millar.
Decrease in amount for LRT proposal :