Quotable: Abbotsford Has Higher Taxes Because … We Pay Our Police So Much …

By January 15, 2013Quotable

UPDATED 16/01/13 – MORE COMMENTS RECEIVED – We had an interesting exchange in the comments section which, rather than shed any light on the topic at hand – the City’s mismanagement of taxpayer funds – we were given a rare insight into another issue – the ludicrously high cost of policing in Abbotsford … and why it exists.

Have a read …

1. We Pay Higher Taxes In Abbotsford …

First, in his column Please Join YMCA Delegation To Council Jan 21 Walter Neufeld pointed out that the mismanagement by City senior staff and council has put us in the unenviable position of having high taxes than any of our neighbours in the Fraser Valley.

[excerpt] That mismanagement is further highlighted by comparing Abbotsford’s average home property taxes to other municipalities (2010) who enjoy lower taxes, but with similar (or better) services:
• Mission
• Port Coquitlam
• Maple Ride
• Langley (District)
• Langley (City)
• Surrey
• Pitt Meadows
• etc

dloe Explains Why …

In the Comments Section under the column we received this curious admission:

• dloe Says:
January 13th, 2013 at 8:44 pm
I had responded to Walter by return email regarding his property tax reference, but since my letter was not acknowledged, I will repost it here for everyone’s benefit.
Your choice of “Average Property Taxes” for the purpose of comparing is a curious one and not one that is usually used, nor accurate. A more reliable comparator is taxes on a typical house of similar assessed value (eg. $400k.).
However, since it’s the one you used, I will offer my comments based on it. I’ve attached the figure by which each of the following differed from Abbotsford.
• Mission – $14 less
• Port Coquitlam – $19 less
• Maple Ridge – $131 less
• Langley (District) – $186 (the average difference between LD and LC; your list does not specify which is District and which is City)
• Langley (City) –
• Surrey – $171 less
• Pitt Meadows – $140 less
Given the fact that none of these municipalities have a municipal police force and therefore have no budget line for Police, I would suggest that Abbotsford’s taxes are very favourable. As a matter of fact, this year’s budget allocates 28% to Police. Increase each of their tax figures by that percentage and we may have a more accurate comparison.

Clarification …

To which At Editor Mike Archer responded:

• Editor Says:
January 14th, 2013 at 10:22 am
If I understand dloe’s argument, the reason we have higher taxes than all of our neighbors in the Fraser Valley, while enjoying a lower level of more expensive services and higher water rates, is not that we waste millions on the debt servicing for an enplty [sic] arena, the financial backing of the hockey club owners, the American firm we pay to manage the place, or the misunderstanding and mismanagement of the DCC fund to make ends meet …
It’s the fact we pay so much more for policing than our neighbours …
Why does City Council spend so much more on policing than all of neighbours?

From The Horse’s Mouth …

Then it occurred to us, we already have the answer to the question – “Why does City Council spend so much more on policing than all of neighbours?” – from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

In Quotable: Bob Rich On Why We Have To Pay More For Policing In Abbotsford Abbotsford’s Chief of Police explained why Abbotsford’ policing costs so much:

Rich explained, with the help of a bar graph, that police officers get paid more the longer they are on the force and the higher they rise in the ranks. Much like the management structure at City Hall, it turns out we are top-heavy with older, senior officers and managers in Abbotsford.

Because of union agreements we have to pay aging police officers more and since we can’t transfer them to detachments which can afford their experience (as we could do if we had the RCMP do our policing) we’re simply stuck with the cost of an ever aging, less effect police force.


So – according to dloe and Bob Rich, Abbotsford taxpayers pay the highest taxes in the Fraser Valley because we have an old and aging police force which has the taxpayers corned with a union contract which forces us to simply pay them more the older they get.

Relax. It has nothing to do with all of the other mismanagement and waste we’re discovering every week – it’s the contract councillors signed with those old local cops instead of signing on with the RCMP like every other municipality in the Fraser Valley which pays less for their policing.

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