Editorial: Work together for change

Everyone should have the opportunity to voice their opinions

The recent outcry over property taxes has created plenty of political drama in town. Many homeowners are frustrated with the current property tax increase and have voiced their concerns over municipal expenses continually being “offloaded” onto taxpayers.

The backlash resulted in a property tax rally this summer and a petition presented to council demanding fiscal restraint and zero tax increases for the next three years. Those who signed the petition also want to see a review of all current and future spending, raising questions about possible mismanagement of funds at district hall.

The general tax levy for all classes in Hope increased eight per cent this year. Some homeowners saw higher increases due to changes in the assessed value of their properties, an increase in the school tax, an increase in Fraser Valley Regional District tax, and an increase in the BC Assessment Authority tax levy.

This increase may be higher than some neighbouring communities, but Hope doesn’t have the tax base to offset rising municipal costs. Council was faced with tough decisions this year, having to find a way to raise enough money to balance the books. Residents should consider what municipal services they can live without before demanding cutbacks. Freezing tax increases is a viable option, but it will come at a cost.

As Hope struggles to grow its population and attract new business, we all need to work together to enhance the community’s profile. This week’s distribution of bumper stickers reading “Regain Hope Stop The Virus Thats Killing Townhall” (sic) sends a clear message we’re divided. Bumper stickers are appearing around town on public buildings, and even on vehicles without the owner’s knowledge. How does this benefit the community?

Everyone should have the opportunity to voice their opinions, it’s an essential part of democracy. However, there are certain lines that should not be crossed and vandalism is one of them. This type of action negatively impacts people’s perception of the community. People have the right to support and participate in political movements, but that is a personal decision that should not be made for them. There are better ways to share ideas that can foster positive change.

The Hope Standard