Just Transitions – Laura Stewart — Carbon Tax Song

At lunch, to entertain the crowd at the Just Transitions summit in Regina, musician and song writer Laura Stewart played her carbon tax song. It’s pretty catchy, and I hope the PM listens to it.


Stadium in Calgary

The Mayor talks to Calgary about their new stadium idea.
I didn’t realize Mayor Fougere was a fan of “big ideas”.

Of course you’ll have to consider the Mayor’s figures in context.
$25M from the Riders for a $278M stadium isn’t even 10%.

“This way, for $73-million, we get a brand new stadium.”
Well, not really, since Regina’s citizens are paying more than that in provincial taxes too, and in ticket fees not present on the paid-for Taylor Field.

LIP Sticking Out #YQRcc

There are a few great letters to City Council on the Agenda, including one by Glenda Calcutta, and this by Alex and Jill Docking.

It is telling perhaps that most of the streets prop
osed for Local improvements also were successfully blocked by property owner petitions.

We were in favour of this work being done on Assiniboine Avenue. It was just a little over due — by about 40 years according to your own
That said, I certainly understand why many would not wish to take on thousands of dollars in debt — at an interest rate far above what would be reasonable in 2014 — when they already face a substantial increase in city property taxes already this year.
I find it interesting to note that your city documents indicate that the streets are checked every four years to determine if they are due for this work. And yet, this (1954) street was not on a list four years ago, eight years ago, 12 years ago, 16 years ago — even though it clearly was in a highly deteriorated condition for all of that time and much more.

If my property is left a mess, quite rightly the city will eventually come along and force me to clean it up. Who is going to force the city of Regina to clean up its mess?
A last anecdotal note: when we have had visitors from elsewhere at our home — one of the first comments made: ‘don’t you pay your taxes on this street’.

We pay taxes — lots of taxes — is it not about time you (The City) take some of the money paid in taxes on this street over 60 years — SIXTY YEARS — and do the work that so desperately needs to be done??

–Alex and Jill

In fact, the City isn’t budgeting for sidewalks in property taxes, so that’s a mistake that should have long ago been fixed. Saskatoon fixed their mistake.

Of course, the sidewalk benefits residents on both sides but the LIP is charging only inside owners for it – clear discrimination. Since the city assesses the LIP costs by property frontage and flankage, the neighbors (on the outside of the crescent ) with the large pie shape lots pay the least while the lone neighbor on the inside corner pays the most – more discrimination. This cost disparity is pitting neighbor against neighbor – inside vs. outside.

To give you a more tangible idea of this disparity:
(# of Residents, Average Cost)
Outside (17, $3,970)
Inside (12, $7,554)

Actual assessed cost to the inside corner owner is

Based on the Saskatchewan Provincial Government guidelines provided to municipalities regarding LIP, the city clearly has the power to make it right.

City Giving LIP to Homeowners #YQRcc

The bill is unfair, and it’s not the only one. Cathedral Dr. is also being fixed, and it doesn’t have a sidewalk, but homeowners are being charged close to $4000 to repair the street. This should be covered by property taxes.

It’s not fair for the City to collect property taxes on these homes to maintain streets and sidewalks and then levy another bill for thousands of dollars to repair sidewalks (that aren’t even there in the case of Cathedral Dr.). Homeowners at the very least should be permitted to contract the work out for less than the City’s quote, or do the work properly themselves.

As it stands, homeowners will have to circulate a petition to stop the work entirely, and the street won’t get fixed for another year because the City’s fixated on doing it only while double-billing homeowners for the same street maintenance property taxes are supposed to pay for.

ADDED: “McKee Cres. has not been repaired since 1961. There are 6 buses a day that currently (and for the past 5 years, that I know of) travel down the street and cause much damage. Property taxes are obviously being mismanaged if 52 years of taxes cannot cover the costs of repaving/repairs once!

The residents of this street should block off both ends and start
charging tolls to non-residents that use it in order to offset any
future repairs.”

Sound Policy

It’s bothered me that an unpopular provincial government decision will so negatively impact the people of Ward 1. The recently constructed Sound Stage at Broad St. and College Ave. stands to lose quite a bit of business, by predictions I’ve heard. I expect I’ll be hearing about this issue on the doorsteps as I start door-knocking in the Ward. I’m not sure there is a municipal government solution to the loss of the refundable film tax credit, but I hope to hear one, or more good ideas to keep our home grown film industry growing.