Well, my gal Joni MacFarlane has come through again (with a little prodding from yours truly, I’m thinking? :-) ) in doing an ‘excellent job’ by way of reporting on the fast, under the table dealing, by our administration and council in what can only be called a cold, calculated, sinister, and diabolical ‘tax grab’ from those least able to afford it, or to defend themselves…
Editorial – Crowsnest Promoter
By Joni MacFarlane Editor
Timing is everything
Council has now passed the new bylaw increasing penalties on unpaid property taxes.
First reading went through on Nov. 29. One week later – Dec. 6 – second and third readings were passed.
During the voting process of the final reading, council was told by administration that they’d received no opposition from the public on the issue.
The reason the municipality hadn’t received phone calls on the issue, was simple. The public didn’t know about it yet.
Because two meetings had been cancelled in November, council then held meetings over two consecutive weeks.
Few people ever attend council meetings and those that do, usually stay for a particular portion of interest to them and then leave as soon as they can.
Without over-inflating the media’s importance, it’s still the first source for accurate reporting on municipal news.
Due to the nature of press deadlines and publishing dates, by the time the newspaper’s story hit the newsstands, the bylaw was a done deal. Residents didn’t get a chance to react and in most cases, weren’t even aware of it until the bylaw was passed.
This is the downside of holding council meetings back to back. Unless there is a public hearing or an issue of importance is given time for public awareness, weekly newspapers can’t bridge the shortened timeline.
Municipal administration may want to consider this when they’re advising council of the public’s apparent indifference.
In some cases, it may not be as it seems.
Comment: This is a council in financial trouble, I’m thinking. When they have to resort to subterfuge in order to push through their agenda, while at the same time rushing in the new outrageous tax penalty of 50% to take effect at the end of this month, giving people 2-3 weeks notice only, is disgraceful and shameful. Especially, considering what time of year it is. Never mind, that it is unfair, unjust and just plain wrong!
The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.