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Amalgamation of Victoria municipalities

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#21 DelsterX

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:42 PM

I think almagamation could be more feasible if they could have a transitional period for 4 or 5 years where each mayor of each munciaplity would act as councillior representitive for their city/"region". Each year you could slowly remove city councilord from each municipality until there was just the mayors forming one super city councillor. And they could meet at the Hall of Justice.

#22 Galvanized

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:29 PM

^Not a bad idea! Did you know that the Legion Of Doom also has 13 members?

Memorable Quotes from
"The Challenge of the Super Friends" (1978)

Narrator: Banded together from remote galaxies are thirteen of the most sinister villians of all time, The Legion of Doom. Dedicated to a single objective, the conquest of the Universe! Only one group dares to challenge this intergalactic threat, The Super Friends! The Justice League of America versus The Legion of Doom! This is the Challenge of The Super Friends!
Narrator: Deep within a bleak and dismal swamp, hidden beneath its murky waters, lies the headquarters of the most sinister villains of all time: The Legion of Doom.
Lex Luthor: It is the purpose of the Legion to align our infamous forces against the powers of good and defeat them, leaving us the rulers of the world. To do this, we have gathered together the thirteen most ruthless villains on Earth. The frigid Captain Cold. The sinister mind of Sinestro. The awesome Bizarro and Solomon Grundy. The cunning Cheetah and the super-intelligent computer android Brainiac. Black Manta and Grodd the Gorilla. The Toyman and the humorous but sinister Riddler. The feminine yet ferocious Giganta and the hideous Scarecrow. Not to mention the evil genius and brilliant leadership of myself, Lex Luthor.

The Flash: It started with an incredible dream I had last night.
Superman: No more strange, I'm sure, than the one I had. I dreamt I robbed Fort Knox.
Batman: That's interesting. I dreamt Robin and I looted the U.S. Mint.
Robin: Holy coincidences, Batman. I had the same dream.
Hawkman: It seems we all had criminal dreams last night. But when we arrived at the Hall of Justice this morning, we discovered something that turned our dreams into nightmares.

Batman: But, Chief, with all of the SuperFriends in jail, there'll be no-one to stop the world's crime.
Bizarro: [removes mask and laughs] Batman guess right. But him not guess me Bizarro with Luthor device to change voice.

Black Manta: It's time for us all to go to the Hall of Justice and turn it into the Hall of Injustice!

Narrator: Can the SuperFriends escape before they collide with the sun? Will the Legion of Doom succeed in taking over the world? Stay tuned and see in the exciting conclusion of: The Challenge of the SuperFriends!

Robin: Holy hotfoot, Batman. We're getting closer to the sun.
Batman: At the rate we're traveling, we've only got a few minutes left.
Superman: And without the use of my muscles, my super-strength is useless.

The Cheetah: With Luthor's brilliant mutation device hooked up to the SuperFriends' computer, the Justice League satellite will beam its rays all over the world.
Bizarro: Turn all Earth people into Bizarros and Cheetahs.
The Cheetah: And all of them working for our evil purr-poses.

Batman: Alfred!
Alfred: [enters with mutated face] Alfred Bizarro to be exactly. Now me got little surprise for you.

Lex Luthor: We're already back at the Hall of Doom planning our next sinister mission. And this time, nothing will stop us.
Superman: Give it up, Luthor. You've failed this time, and you'll fail every time you try to triumph over justice. And the SuperFriends.

[A lava beast rises from a pit of magma and grabs Superman]
Superman: His grip is like an oven of liquid rock!
Batman: Quick, Robin! Use your Bat-Lube!

Never forget your Bat-Lube!
Past President of Victoria's Flâneur Union Local 1862

#23 Scaper

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:45 PM

^ eww bat lube....I don't want to know...

That reminds me of a joke...With the invisible man, Wonderwoman and Superman...

Ahhh O.K. message me if you want to here it!!! :lol:

#24 Mike K.

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 08:28 AM

TC Opinion piece (Oct 12, 06)

Let it be: Amalgamation could be the answer to tax dilemma

No one needs to hear the Beatles sing about the taxman to be reminded of the universal displeasure of paying taxes.
Similarly, sending tax bills comes with the pain of knowing the angst it triggers at the receiving end.
It was not surprising, then, to hear the protests coming from nonprofit organizations who learned recently that the property tax exemption they’ve been getting from the City of Victoria could be whittled down over the next five years if a bylaw is passed, possibly as early as today.
Several organizations have a meeting with the city’s finance committee in the hopes of averting the new rules.
I would hate to be a decision maker on the issue, because it’s a mean piece of business, and with losers — either the non-profits or Victoria taxpayers — are a guaranteed outcome.
Here’s the background. When Victoria looked to curb tax hikes in 2004, municipal property tax exemptions given to non-profits and some recreational services came into the crosshairs. Council mustered the courage to trim tax breaks for those serving a regional population, arguing that city residents shouldn’t have to take a tax hit so regional groups benefit.
The resolve, however, was shortlived. Within a day or two, city politicians capitulated and grandfathered regional non-profits under old rules.
New regional non-profits setting up in the city boundaries would be expected to pay a percentage of their taxes. Flash forward to 2006. Council is back to considering whittling away exemptions in increments of 10 per cent. By 2011, under the proposed formula, regional non-profits would be eligible for only a 50 per cent reduction in municipal property taxes, putting $240,000 back into the coffers each year. The new policy recognizes the grandfathering clause created an inequity which penalizes new non-profits and doesn’t give the same benefit to those not owning property.
Todd Abercrombie of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, capital region chapter, is leading the charge against the change on behalf of several non-profits.
It’s easy to sympathize with his and other non-profits serving marginalized populations with charitable dollars. But here’s the tricky piece: Should Victoria taxpayers have to shoulder that support? Some argue that Victoria, with its sizable commercial tax base, has more money to give exemptions.
There’s an element of truth to that. But also true is that it owns the lion’s share of social burdens, whether coping with the homeless or dealing with people urinating in downtown doorways as they make their way to homes in other parts of the region.
One proposal suggests no tax breaks, but setting aside an envelope of tax-collected money for grants, forcing non-profits to join arts groups that go cap-in-hand to every municipality. It would allow the city to target money. Organizations that don’t own property could benefit from the city’s generosity. But it seems like a waste of time for both the organizations and city staff.
Could the money be collected at the Capital Regional District for distribution? Sounds good in theory, but think of how difficult it’s been to get municipalities to contribute to a housing trust fund, never mind the bickering around cost sharing for a communication system for police and fire. Politicians at that table would have trouble dividing up a lunch tab in a way that would leave everyone happy.
Which brings us to the A-word: amalgamation. The city’s dilemma, and the crunch non-profits face, are the result of a fractured municipal governance structure we’ve clung to in the name of an overly-cherished local autonomy.
But to quote the Beatles: “Let me tell you how it will be.” Non-profits may get their tax exemption, or city taxpayers may offload a portion of their burden. Certainly the real issue will go untouched.

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#25 gumgum

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 08:40 AM

I see Carolyn Heiman's the latest registered user on this site.
Hello Carolyn Heiman!

#26 G-Man


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Posted 12 October 2006 - 09:39 AM

Until a group of citizens go around the current municipal policticians and demand the Provincial Government do this we are not going to be amalgamated anytime soon.

If citizens were to participate in a plebicite that showed solid support for amamgamation than the Provincial government would have the necessary ammunition to make this happen.

No politician is going to go up against numerous civic entities without a solid citizen based movement. Now of course that would take money and time so I doubt that any group is going to come forward to do this anytime soon.

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#27 Mike K.

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 12:08 PM

Hmm, interesting point.

A vote on the matter would be a good move, even if it were unofficial. Perhaps an amalgamation task force should be set up at the municipal level to bring to the surface the benefits or lack thereof for all munis?

At the very least the monetary side of amalgamation should be explored and easily available to individuals across the CRD. Wait, speaking of which, why wouldn't the CRD start the ball rolling on something like this?

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#28 G-Man


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Posted 12 October 2006 - 12:13 PM

The CRD would look awfully suspicious if they started a study that examines the removal of the municipalities beneath it.

What you need to do is find a group of rich retired folk that want amalgamation and get them to start spending money.

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#29 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 01:30 PM

You've all seen the [url=http://lessgov.com/:fe8c0]LessGov[/url:fe8c0] site, right? It's been around for quite a while (I came across it during the last municipal elections; one of the support letters is dated April 2005). There's a petition to sign; the contact page has a list of people involved in the initiative, too. Joan Dysart (email included on the "volunteer" page) is the person to contact if you want to get involved. "Some points to consider" on the homepage is useful, with point 9 (No cohesive economic and land use plans based on regional population and needs) of particular interest to those of us interested in how the city and region develop.

I really liked Heiman's article, it made me feel a bit better about my rant re. $2.20 whizzes (in the "padding the urinal" post). We can't rely on the CRD to do much, either. Even if an allegedly "regional" entity bears the CRD stamp, there's no guarantee that all the municipalities of the CRD have actually bought into it / contributed funds to it. Arts is one example.
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#30 Scaper

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:19 PM

Thanks for the link.

#31 G-Man


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Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:44 PM

To be honest I had never heard of that group and that just goes to show you how much more advertising they need to do. Oh well I am all signed up but I missed their cut-off.

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#32 Scaper

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:46 PM

Me too. I also emailed them and let them know of this site too. :-D

#33 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 08:58 AM

Carolyn Heiman follows up on the issues she raised in an earlier article (whether non-profits should get property tax exemptions, even if they serve the region, and why this whole conundrum is an argument in favour of amalgamation). The following article (online [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/story.html?id=3064136e-d7e8-4baa-bf68-be5c7cc68d33:9ddbc]here[/url:9ddbc]) is also very precise, summing up the issues for Victoria and its taxpayers:

Non-profits' plea sways council a bit

Carolyn Heiman
Times Colonist

Friday, October 13, 2006

A last-minute plea by several non-profit groups tugged at the heart strings of Victoria council last night.

Council stalled -- albeit for possibly only a week -- on phasing in a plan that would see tax exemptions to non-profits that serve people living outside city limits trimmed to 50 per cent from 100 per cent.

The proposed clawback on exemptions was also to hit charity-run thrift stores such as Society of the St. Vincent de Paul. It would have put an end to the society's food bank program, said executive director Angela Hudson. But three thrift shops got a full reprieve at last night's council meeting.

Council tabled a portion of a bylaw that would have exempted $1,777,730 in property taxes owed by more than 60 organizations ranging from the Victoria Women in Need Society to the Royal & MacPherson Theatre Society. Many on the list, including arts and educational agencies, will continue to get their usual tax breaks.

Mayor Alan Lowe told non-profits begging the council not to cut off their tax exemptions that phasing in the increases over five years was a way of allowing the organizations to begin lobbying other municipalities to support their services.

Several council members expressed sympathy for the organizations that would lose the tax breaks, but Coun. Dean Fortin said that in the end, council needed "to capture the purpose of what we want to do. Capital regional charities need to find support elsewhere."

Earlier, the city's finance committee had an emergency meeting at the request of several non-profit groups who persuaded councillors on that committee to suggest the bylaw be tabled for further discussion.

Todd Abercrombie, executive director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, said non-profits are "all up against it ... we don't have a lot of extra revenue."

Under the plan, the MS society would have to pay $24,201 taxes by 2011.

Abercrombie suggested the city should deal with other municipalities to share in the costs of supporting non- profits.

But Coun. Geoff Young said council is responsible to Victoria taxpayers who have among the lowest income per capita. By giving the tax exemptions, "We are demanding our citizens to make charitable donations."

He went on to say that raising taxes only contributed to making downtown a less attractive place to locate.

In 2004, the city refined its permissive tax-exemption policy which led to non-profits already getting the exemption to be grandfathered and new non-profits with a regional focus to come under new rules and get only a 50 per cent exemption.

The policy lead to inequities, but "They were ones the council itself created," said Abercrombie.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

I like Young's points here.
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#34 G-Man


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Posted 13 October 2006 - 09:06 AM

I know it is a tired theme but the rest of the region relly does need to start sharing some the burden here. This is not like Vancouver where suburbs are truly didtant from the core. Saanich is a fifteen minute walk away yet fails to provide a fair amount of compensation for services.

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#35 Rorschach


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Posted 19 October 2006 - 08:13 AM

I think amalgamation is the solution to a lot of problems - especially in police and fire services where the redundancy and duplication of services and support bureaucracy cost the taxpayers a lot of money for the privilege of maintaining separate fiefdoms.

It seems completely impossible to me that the individual communities will vote to abandon local control regardless of the waste and cost.

Wiser minds with Federal authority will have to force the issue. But then there is that severe shortage of wise minds in the Federal government.

Maybe the communities will go with a comprehensive mutual aid agreement? There is probably at least one police or fire official with some comprehension of the big picture who could draft a master plan to most efficiently deploy and use the available police and fire resources and allocate the costs proportionate to the prime users of the resource. The solution must be fair and reasonable economically, since this is primarily and economic problem we are attempting to solve.

Having such an agreement would allow de-facto amalgamation is those areas where it is most needed, yet maintain the shell of the various fiefdoms and local control of local issues.

After police and fire are optimized, then the duplicative public works departments can be optimized and on down the line of government services. It truly could be done if there was someone intelligent in a key position.

But there's that problem again -- where is that man or woman of intellect? And who listens to the smart people in government? Sigh.

#36 m0nkyman

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 02:35 PM

From another thread:

Bottom line is, if Victorian's want a "safer" core, social services for the street population and the vulnerage, better up-keep of public spaces and world-class entertainment facilities then 100% of the region should participate in the funding.

Instead we have 20% of the CRD footing the bill for an area and services that 100% of the population identifies with. Is that fair for Victoria-proper's population? Hardly. Is it shortchanging our downtown? Very much so.

No. It's not. It's the nature of downtown's. Looking at it another way, we're the ones getting the tax benefits from having these regional draws in our city. Yes, we have higher polciing costs because we have a nightlife. We have a nightlife, and those bars are paying property taxes.

If we're failing to capitalize on the draws that we do have, and making them pay, then we better look in the mirror when we're looking for someone to blame.... how many restaurants are around the arena? Why aren't we using the McPherson for corporate seminars? Why are we not using what we've got?

Instead we *****, and go "if only..."

#37 Mike K.

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 03:05 PM

The entire region celebrates downtown Victoria's triumphs and lay claim to ownership of the place when things are good (like the free concerts -- oh how Victorian's LOVE the free concerts). But only one municipality out of 13 deals with the aftermath when the party's over.

Residents who live in Saanich do not call Frank Leonard and request him to set aside tax dollars to help Mayor Lowe deal with downtown homelessness issues. But they do write letters to the TC criticizing Lowe for not "doing" anything with the homeless and making Saanich residents feel uncomfortable in "Victoria's" downtown. All of a sudden when there's a problem it's "Victoria's" downtown.

On the flipside, angry Sidney residents write in to complain that there are no fireworks downtown on new years eve. Althewhile when Victoria releases the expected costs of downtown fireworks for special events the only feedback is static on the mic and a few crickets.

So, we should tax our businesses and residents to make downtown friendly, then in the event that the friendliness works we should tax our residents again? Indeed, punishment for success is the current reality, and by the looks of things it's causing Victoria and Victorian's grief.

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#38 m0nkyman

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 03:34 PM

Meh. If Victoria throws a party, like Symphony Splash, I'm hoping to God that it spins off enough economic benefits to make it worthwhile. If us merchants can't figure out how to get people to spend money downtown when the customers are delivered directly to our front doors, then it's our own damned fault. If it doesn't pay, then we shouldn't be doing it, whether we're robbing Saanich to help pay for it or not.

#39 Jeffamartin1970

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 10:53 PM

We have to many voices at the local political table!. Look how hard it has been to get sewage treatment for Greater Victoria! Less Goverment would mean lower taxes for local tax payers! Go to http://www.lessgov.com for more information.

#40 m0nkyman

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 06:13 AM

Less Goverment would mean lower taxes for local tax payers!

Bzzzzzt. Wrong.

Please; Have a look at every other city that has tried amalgamation. Then come back and talk.

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