In your recent editorial, it's interesting that you said this about the 2017 bylaw meant to have owners share the cost of storm sewer service: "After all, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars here. If the city goes for it – and I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t – taxpayers deserve a full explanation about why they are making the change. It can’t just be because some homeowners complained."
I completely agree that the city needs to give taxpayers a full explanation about why they are making changes to this bylaw. They also need to give taxpayers a full explanation about why they passed this law without consultation or notification, too.
As an immigrant to Canada, I agree that we should pay taxes for services and I'm not opposed to changing the way we pay for services and upgrades. I recognize my privilege of owning a detached house and how this distinguishes my comparative wealth in the Lower Mainland.
You might say that my biggest problems with this bylaw are not being told that I owe money, not being given the chance to pay the tax, and being charged interest on it even though I can't pay it down or off.
I agree that the city needs to give a full explanation. This type of bylaw will continue to affect more and more property owners in Burnaby, some of whom do not know that they owe tens of thousands of dollars on their house and cannot set aside this much from the sale of their house to pay for the tax bill. Think of someone who lost their job, carries a lot of debt, and must sell and move somewhere cheaper. I think we should all know what debt and taxes we owe.
Theresa Putkey, Burnaby