Sir: I have been reading Rob Hakker’s letters on our local taxes and it made me stop and think.
I thought about it when I took out my garbage bin and recycling. Trucks came along and picked it up, paid by my taxes.
I thought about it when I passed an accident and the police were there sorting things out and directing traffic.
I thought about it when the ambulance picked up my mother and took her to the hospital.
I thought about it as I watched construction crews fix my street.
I thought about it when I drove over the new Fifth Street Bridge.
I thought about it when I went through the new animal shelter.
In the winter, our streets get plowed and the rural roads are cleared so school buses can get through.
I’m sure that there are a multitude of others things that our tax dollars are spent on that I don’t know about but benefit the citizens of Chatham-Kent.
I looked it up; Chatham-Kent is 2,458 square kilometres and is the 12th largest municipality by area in Canada.
There are 27 medium and small communities other than Chatham and Wallaceburg. They all want services in their communities.
Chatham-Kent has approximately 850 bridges and thousands of kilometres of roads, including Victoria Road, Longwoods Road and Talbot Trail, which were downloaded to the municipality by the Conservative government in 1998. They all need to be maintained and cleared of snow. I suspect that the cost to do this would be a surprise to most of us.
The population in Chatham-Kent is 101,000, which means that there are only 45 people per square kilometre. There are only 46,000 private dwellings. Not a great number of properties to get property tax from.
I can’t speak to the problems that businesses have financially in doing business in Chatham-Kent, but they also get the same services. In fact, I believe that economic development has been working to provide as much support as they can under the provincial municipalities legislation.
From my point of view, I believe council has been fairly frugal, not that I have agreed with every decision but passed by a majority council vote.
More than eight councilors have to pass a budget and authorize spending; that’s democracy.
By the way, the councilors pay property taxes; some are also business owners and are affected by both their home and business taxes. I would think that they would take that into consideration during their deliberations.
I think I’m getting good value for my tax dollar in Chatham-Kent.