When it comes to tax increases, Ponoka News’ readers prefer a fluctuating annual rate as opposed to a fixed one.
With Ponoka residents seeing a six per cent tax increase for 2018, our most recent web poll asked the question: Should the Town of Ponoka have a standing annual tax increase? For example, 5 per cent increase annually.
Of the 44 votes, 38 opted for “No. Fluctuate increases based on need.”
The real discussion came on our Facebook page with readers speaking strongly against a fixed rate. Some questioned the poll itself and challenged town service levels.
“Is this a serious question?” asked Mike DeMaere. “My taxes have increased every year regardless of economic conditions and yet somehow we still experience a decrease in services.”
“Seems the only time this place gets anything done is for stampede,” added DeMaere.
Another reader suggested a third option: “Neither.”
Sherrie Mattie wants to see community input. “A salary increase is not always a give. So why should a tax increase?”
At this point reader Danny Lineham questioned not only Mattie but also another reader, Karen Read.
For Mattie, Lineham pointed out there’s been a few budget open houses for residents. “All council meetings, including — or perhaps especially — those where they spent a lot of hard hours hammering out the budget, are open to the public.”
“And I am also sure the mayor or any of the councillors would have been happy to have answered any of your questions if you called or emailed them,” he stated.
Lineham challenged Read, who took issue with the initial 15 per cent that administration presented to council during budget deliberations.
“Not bloody 15 per cent that’s for sure. No fiscal accountability shown by our current town council,” stated Read.
Lineham challenged her on the number and pointed out that it was from 15 per cent that council brought down. “This still leaves us with one of the lowest tax rates in the province.”
Check back for our weekly polls at ponokanews.com/web-poll for more questions related to Ponoka or other community issues.
Editor’s note: Some comments have been edited for grammar. Ponoka News’ web polls are a way to engage with readers and to get an understanding of important community issues. The web polls are created by Ponoka News and do not represent an official petition or plebiscite.