Response to Regional Director's Notes
I'm also sending this to the email list.
Your Regional Director Notes in last week's Isle & Times say "the large suggested tax increase was a shock."
I first posted about the huge increases in the budget, to the Lasqueti email list on February 20. From that time I frequently posted questions to and responses from Emergency Services Manager Ryan Thoms, and information about the budget and tax increases to both the Lasqueti web site and the email list (to which you subscribe). Alternate director Fisher also joined the discussion, and began to investigate the huge increase in our fire department budget. Did you not read the information posted and available to you, much of it on your own computer?
Did you really find the suggested tax increase to be a surprise? It is your job to pay attention to details, and especially to the budgets and the tax burden imposed by PRRD.
The Committee of the Whole meeting which you attended had fifteen pieces of correspondence from Lasqueti residents in the agenda package. Nine of these were specifically objecting to the huge increase in budget and taxes. One of these was from Alternate director Fisher, asking that Lasqueti fire department budget reductions be put on the agenda for the meeting. He told me that he told you about this before the meeting. Did you not read the correspondence? Did it, and Laurence, not give you an inkling that there was huge disagreement with what you were planning to impose on us?
At the Board meeting the next week, you did, as you say in your RD Notes, move amendments, but they didn't really keep the tax increases at bay. They resulted in a 5.7% increase in our RD taxes, rather than a 24.55% increase. 5.7% is a pretty substantial increase in taxes, way above inflation.
Finally, you say "When all the facts are in on the Fire Department issues we will have a public meeting to discuss our options going into the future." I strongly suggest, and urge, that you don't call a meeting when you have all the answers, or facts. Call a meeting with whatever information you now have, and let people know what you see the situation as being, and possibly even the options you see, or favour. There are likely to be a bunch of questions that will need to be answered, and more information gathered, before we can formulate possibly options for our fire department's future. After that part is done, it will be time to begin discussions about what we think is the best thing to do - except for dispatch: we've already decided what we think the best option is. If there is some new information, or some other problem, we could re-examine that issue.
Please start to work for us. We need a regional director who we can trust, and who works with and for us.
Thank you for considering this. Peter