Council needs some really fresh ideas

David F. Rooney

Scratch a City Councillor and they’ll tell you they’ve always known the business community was over-taxed and deeply unhappy. I find that just a little disingenuous, but this is not a time to point fingers and say, “I told you so!”

No. This is a time for both Council and the business community to find imaginative solutions to the fiscal crisis that threatens to erode them both. The business community is demanding that the City cut its budget. And Council is suggesting that a joint committee of Councillors and Chamber of Commerce directors meet to discuss ways to do that. That’s fine. That will help. But it’s not enough.

The City really needs to look at ways to increase its revenues without raising taxes. There are probably Chamber members with some pretty good ideas, but I’m betting that there are lots of Current readers who have suggestions of their own, too.

The ideas don’t have to be inoffensive and bland. They can be bold. They can be big. They can even be the kind of ideas that will tick some people off.

Here’s my own suggestion: install parking meters along Victoria Road where the RVs and big rigs park. Charge them a buck an hour or $5 a day and they’ll be convinced they’re getting a real deal, particularly since most of them come from major cities where you’ll pay lot more than that for street parking.

Here’s another idea I heard in discussion downtown: install parking meters everywhere in the downtown core — except at the City parking lot on First Street East — and charge 25 cents an hour. And here’s another: the City should actively build, rent and market accommodation to skiers in the winter.

Sure, I can think of objections people will have to all three of these ideas. That’s not the point. The point is to come up with concepts that the City could employ to increase its revenue without resorting to tax increases.

What ideas do you have?

Post them here and The Current will send them to both the Chamber of Commerce and City Council.