Letters to the editor 

What planet are you guys on?

The following letter was addressed to mayor and council. A copy was forwarded to Pique for publication.

I can hardly believe the incredible stories in the newspapers last week that a hand-picked panel of experts advised the RMOW to increase taxes by 25.5 per cent (including the 5.5 per cent levied on us in 2009) so the RMOW can just keep spending and spending regardless of taxpayers' ability to pay.  I know of no financial experts who would advise increased spending during the current "Great Recession" in the face of decreasing revenues. This is catastrophic business logic. We already pay a huge premium to live in Whistler, than you. My taxes are 50 per cent higher than a West Vancouver home of the same value.

I would like to thank Councillors Zeidler and Thomson for questioning such faulty and sophistic logic as "Oh well, you seem to be $5.7 million short over the net three years so just send out huge tax increases so you can continue sipping champagne at Muni Hall while the taxpayers lose their jobs and businesses."

Let me help mayor and council on how a private businessman would approach this. I can think of three easy ways to save $5.7 million over three years:

1. We need a review of the staffing levels of each department. For example, do we need so many in the planning and building inspection departments when we have effectively reached build out?

2. Total wages and employer contributions at the RMOW in 2007 were $19,351,674. The top 47 employees averaged $111,701 each in 2007.

3. The RMOW Sustainability Centre was set up as a taxpayer subsidized consulting business to compete with companies like Cascade Environmental Resource Group and my company, Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners. Close this green pulpit for our mayor and save two or three local companies and $1.5 million.

So, with points 1 and 3 taken into consideration we have a shortfall of $1.2 million per year. To resolve this "dilemma" the RMOW simply needs to reduce employee costs by 5 per cent through attrition or institute a wage freeze just like General Motors and Ecosign.

I am truly sorry that I cannot attend the open house Thursday, March 12 at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre as I will be in Quebec trying to earn a living just to keep paying the highest taxes in British Columbia.

I ask all interested citizens to please attend and voice their opinion.

Paul Mathews

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