Friday, May 23, 2014

Solution 3: Make 'Em Pay!

If one of our problems is that people are not paying their share of regional services, a solution could be that we make them pay.

What would this look like?

The City and Towns could make non-urban residents pay more for the services they provide.  Realistically, we could jack the user fees on all our recreational facilities and then give anyone who lives in the urban centres a card entitling them to steep discounts.  We could also do this for paid services at our RCMP detachment (like criminal record checks).

Unrealistically, we could put toll booths at the entrances of the urban municipalities and charge non-urban residents a fee to use our streets and parks and trails (like national parks do). 

These options would provide an additional revenue stream to the urbans and would reduce the tax burden on their taxpayers.

I don't think these are very good ideas though.  We are one region and I believe the services each municipality provides should be accessible to everyone in the region equally.  These options would not show we're good regional partners and there could even be a backlash with urban residents having to pay more for services located outside their boundaries such as campgrounds.  Besides, the administrative nightmare and the costs of setting these systems up would in themselves be enough to dissuade us from these options.  Also, the additional revenue user fees could generate would be fairly minimal and would only make a tiny dent in overall revenues.

The only value I see in this option would be that it would create a realization among the public of the regional inequalities.  It would only be a tool used to get us to other reforms and I would only support it as a last resort if progress is not made elsewhere.

Next post ----> Solution 4: Cost Sharing

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