Advice from a taxpayer

Editor: 

The Township is looking for input from residents on how their tax dollars are spent.  

Salaries, wages and benefits are the top expenditure on the Township budget. And while most Langley residents are hoping to maintain their 2010 income or just keep their jobs, Township employees will get a 4% increase. And is this because they are underpaid? Not likely. Salaries for municipal employees are on average 35 per cent higher than they would be in the private sector. We need someone with backbone to negotiate with the unions.

Although many areas of cost increase are not flexible, under Major Cost Drivers, maintaining planted areas has $383,00 allocated in 2011 and large annual budget increases bring it to $936,000 by 2015. That’s more than double. This is just maintenance. Green is good, but if we held the 2011 cost through to 2015 we could save over a million dollars.  

I suggest that the Township set up a Waste Website. Residents could then report incidents where they detect waste. How many times have you wanted to tell someone that three municipal trucks came to patch a pothole (that needs redoing four months later)? Or of senior staff meeting time wasted… promises and no action. Or how employee errors cost the Township legal and repair bills while these same employees continue in their jobs and repeat the mistakes. Once it is clear that we will not accept increasing costs and tax bills I believe that employees will also come forward to contribute cost saving ideas.   

And then there is the cost of running two Langleys, the City and the Township. What would we save if we amalgamated?  

Read the budget on the Township web site: tol.ca under municipal services>finance>financial reports. If a few more of us find a possible million dollar saving then our taxes may not need to rise!  

The web site  tol.ca/budget (where we are asked to answer a survey and give our opinions) is private and requires a password. Hopefully the Township will unlock the site and listen to our concerns and possible solutions.  

Sue Leyland, Langley