Since it became known that the City of Prince Rupert was not planning to change its mill rate, and Mayor Mussallem was pointing the finger at BC Assessments for a potential tax increase, there has been a lot of impassioned talk on the streets about tax bills climbing because council seems ignorant of the fact that they set the mill rate and thus control how much people pay.
Given the feedback from the columns that filled this page two weeks ago, I expected at least some show of opposition to the idea of keeping the mill rate the same when I showed up to the March 10 council meeting. But walking through the chamber doors, the seats were as empty as always and, with the exception of Larry Golden who often asks council questions, not a single person seemingly has anything to say about a potential eight per cent increase in taxes.
Nothing at all, meaning council was given no indication that their idea of leaving the mill rate the same is a bad one.
The public hearing on the budget held last Monday was a chance for people to give feedback, instead council was essentially given the green light to proceed.
Looking through social media and keeping an ear to the street, there is no doubt people have concerns about what council is proposing. The problem here is that talk on the street doesn’t always find its way into council chambers.
The reality is that if you have an issue with something the City of Prince Rupert or your elected officials are doing, the only way things are going to change is by going to them directly. Complaining about it to those who aren’t directly involved will almost certainly have no result whatsoever.
Apathy and municipal politics is nothing new. It’s been around since, well, since municipal politics began. But this is your city, your tax dollars and your quality of life.
If you want change, the first step is to speak to those who can facilitate it.