So I’m not alone when it comes to property taxes

I’m used to seeing a lack of feedback for the City of Estevan’s budget.

Each year, the city asks for people’s thoughts on the document, which outlines spending priorities, establishes property taxes and utility rates, and includes capital projects. Each year, I implore readers to provide their feedback.

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And each year, I lament the lack of feedback.

When the city tried getting feedback for the budget for the first time in 2015, the city received nothing. The CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) crowd was oddly silent.

It was hard to write an editorial in that first year; by the time I removed the curse words, there weren’t many complete sentences remaining.

It amazes me that people will make mountains out of molehills, such as whether garbage pickup should be in the front yard or the back yard, but when it comes to something important, like the budget, residents are silent.

Install speed humps on Wellock Road? People will complain. Delay resurfacing of King Street from Cundall Drive to Kohaly Avenue? People are silent. 

Anyways, a funny thing happened on Monday night. Several members of council reported that they received calls from residents, suggesting there should be a property tax increase. This year marks the first time since 2006 that property taxes in Estevan will remain the same.

And there won’t be a utility rate increase, either.

Councillor Trevor Knibbs reported that he didn’t receive any phone calls from people who are happy about the lack of a tax increase, but he did receive a couple of calls from those who want to see their taxes go up.

 (I wonder if those same people will call Knibbs next year to thank him if there is a tax increase).

As stated before, I’ll happily take the money that I budgeted for a tax increase, and spend it elsewhere, like good Saskatchewan beer. But I do believe it’s best practice to have a small, incremental tax increase each year that keeps pace with the cost of doing business.

It’s also good to know I’m not alone among those who will accept a slightly higher tax bill each year, as long as that tax increase is put to good use.

***

I don’t always agree with the current direction of the education system. I’ve made fun of concepts such as this “new math,” but that’s likely because I was pretty good at old math, at least until concepts such as trigonometry and geometry were introduced, and I couldn’t simply do the math in my head.

And it seems like some teachers have shunned teaching kids about good basic fundamentals of English.

Some will tell you that the schools are now rife with activist teachers who are turning their classrooms into propaganda factories, where young people are indoctrinated in social justice principles. I don’t believe that for a second; it’s just a few bad examples who gain the attention.

Most teachers do great work, and have the best interest of their students at heart.

One concept I’m a big fan of is the outdoor classroom. It takes them from inside the traditional classroom setting to the outdoors. They get to learn while they’re outside. And these classrooms create a marked improvement in the appearance of the school grounds.

Pleasantdale School is the latest to step forward with an outdoor learning environment. Two students and a staff member made a great presentation at Estevan city council this week, and council gave them the green light.

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Saskatchewan Roughrider fans are lamenting the decision to re-sign Zach Collaros to be the team’s No. 1 quarterback this year.

It wasn’t a banner year for Collaros in 2018. He seemed stifled at times on a Roughrider team that often showed all the creativity of my Grade 6 art projects.

On those few occasions in which the shackles were removed from Collaros, and he was allowed to show his skill, he was great. And perhaps the stifling harness will be removed from Collaros now that former Riders head coach and GM Chris Jones has bolted for the NFL.

Collaros still has the talent to be a great quarterback, and to prove his critics wrong. But he enters the season with a lot to prove. He’s no longer considered one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.

He’s also in a division with elite quarterbacks. You can forgive Rider fans wanting to have a quarterback who is among the elite, rather than a quarterback who could be elite.

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The Grammy Awards were held on Sunday night. Once upon a time, I knew the acts who were nominated, and I had my thoughts on the top songs of the year. Now I couldn’t name any of the nominees for top album, top song, top male or female artist, or the People’s Choice Award. (Wait, do they have a People’s Choice Award?)

Obviously a lot has changed in music. People’s tastes have changed. Genres have changed. The way we consume music has changed.

Now where’s my Joshua Tree CD?

 

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