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Letter: Tax hike not the only way out of pandemic deficit

City should get a bit more creative when it comes to digging itself out of the COVID-19 hole

Solving Sudbury financial deficits with more taxation is not the only solution.

Our mayor’s suggestion more taxes may be needed to address our projected shortfall is not sitting well with many of us. It seems this administration is living in LaLa Land. The fact of the matter is this administration continues to use a budgeting process that ignores what Sudburians need as opposed to what this administration wants. 

Applying a percentage increase to the previous year’s costs as a starting point is ludicrous. It assumes that we, the taxpayer, have deep pockets and are OK with handing out more money at this administration’s bidding. 

Here’s what we want our mayor and councillors to focus on: Put a hold on all of the major spending projects you have set in motion and reassess our ability to pay for all the future costs associated with these projects. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if the City of Greater Sudbury administration has shared in the financial burden, like many of us have had to do. 

A recent example, I was speaking with one employee of a firm where everyone took a 10-per-cent pay cut in order to keep their jobs and ride this COVID-19 pandemic out till they see where it brings them. Everyone was happy to have a job and understood it was a small sacrifice to pay to keep everyone afloat. 

My understanding is 95 per cent of our tax dollars go towards salaries and benefits. What sacrifices have you made, Mr. Mayor, and especially all Sunshine List employees? And for you reading this article, I also understand that this administration voted in favour of borrowing $200 million dollars in the form of a debenture. 

This means that this loan will be partially financed for 30 years with a combined price tag of approximately $345 million dollars by the end of the 30-year term. How can these decisions be passed without giving serious consideration of what is happening in this city? 

So our response to you, Mr. Mayor, is that it’s time to apply a more serious budgeting approach to find the savings that you are seeking. The solution of simply increasing our taxes is no longer acceptable. This pandemic requires a new culture in city hall that reflects what we can afford and what we need. The wants will follow once we get our house in order.

R. Hibbs, Sudbury