Empire building hurting N. Cowichan taxpayers
Mr. Carruthers, CAO of the CVRD, again appeared before North Cowichan (MNC) council for a second time and stated that he was progressing with the development of a bylaw to extort taxes from the south end taxpayers of MNC in order to fund the creation of a new Water Authority Department. This is for a service that is already being provided by the private sector free of charge to taxpayers.
So, Mayor Lefebure, why are you allowing and enabling Mr. Carruthers, CAO of the CVRD, to cajole MNC council into agreeing with this waste? The last time I saw the org chart for MNC, it said that MNC council was responsible to the citizens of MNC for their actions, not to Mr. Carruthers. How is it that MNC council allows this travesty to continue? Since when does the tail wag the dog? Council works for the taxpayers, not Mr. Carruthers.
Mr. Carruthers has a habit of building his bureaucratic empire on the backs of taxpayers. Examples include the termination of a contract with a private sector waste collector and replacing it with his public sector alternative that increased costs to taxpayers. He and Mayor Lefebure recently lost their application to the Supreme Court of Canada to control zoning of the former Shawnigan Lake dump site and MNC taxpayers are going to have to pay the bulk of the extra legal bills for that mess. Now he is trying to take over the Joint Utility Board that runs our sewage treatment; that will require him to hire all new staff; he will demand that MNC taxpayers pay that bill with increased taxes too. Now, Mr. Carruthers is lobbying MNC council to support his bureaucratic desire to create a Water Authority that is totally redundant, and he wants MNC taxpayers to pay that new tax as well.
Mr. Carruthers also has a habit of not putting these items to a referendum but uses the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) because he is assured of getting his way. Recall that he avoided the use of the referendum during the last civic elections and resorted to use the AAP only weeks after the last municipal elections to fund his Arts and Entertainment tax. If the referendum had been used, the Arts and Entertainment tax would have failed just like funding for the Sportsplex failed when put to the referendum in that same election.
This past March, Nanaimo had a referendum on a new events centre worth some $80 million; the Nanaimo voters turned it down with rejection by 80 per cent of the voters. The AAP is undemocratic and should never be used for discretionary projects; it should only be used for emergency work.
I have heard all of MNC council talk and sympathize with how families in North Cowichan are struggling. These redundant, empire building initiatives by Mr. Carruthers and enabled by Mayor Lefebure, don’t help. They take food off of the tables of many families in our town. The census statistics put North Cowichan at the low end of incomes in B.C. It is council’s job to control the insatiable appetite for unnecessary taxation by this pair.
Do your job! Stop this waste.