Tuesday July 29, 2014





Improvements minus tax hike could be tough

Done every three years, the City’s Citizen Satisfaction Survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid, provides loads of useful material for consideration.

The $19,500 survey gives the City a sense of what citizens consider priorities, areas for improvement and where they’d like to see their tax dollars go — be it upgrading infrastructure, devoting more resources toward fighting crime, helping the poor or expanding arts programs.

This year’s survey, which touched base with 400 citizens, reflects a sense of optimism in that 90 per cent of those polled feel the quality of life here stayed the same or improved over the last three years.

The five main reasons cited were economic growth and development, better shopping, improved infrastructure and more services.

Residents also note great satisfaction with fire and police services, feel the weather is a top feature, and appreciate our friendly ways and city’s overall appearance.  

Regarding spending, 32 per cent of citizens prefer the City “increase taxes to maintain services,” while 20 per cent support the idea of boosting taxes to expand services.

Those polled suggest they’d be willing to pay more for alternative modes of transportation, though it didn’t describe what those might be, and showed strong support (77 per cent) for “expanded opportunities for casual recreation such as natural areas and walking paths.”

This is somewhat surprising, given the city touts 1,400 hectares of land over 85 parks. But with an aging population, accessible walking paths will be a hot commodity, so this may be an area the City will consider devoting more resources to.

Yet over half the poll respondents said they’d prefer higher user fees be used to increase revenue, rather than increased taxes.

Clearly not everything, like walking trails, can be covered off by user fees, however. If residents genuinely want more of that type of amenity in City parks, it will be impossible to achieve without burdening someone — through taxes or higher user fees somewhere.

But that is only one small part of a very rich survey that the City can mine a wealth of great ideas from. Citizens, no doubt, appreciate the opportunity to provide their input.


We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.




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