First published Aug. 21, 2016.
Originally, the provincial government set up victim services, then they downloaded the cost to local governments (it should be noted that, as with the costs of other downloaded services, the Province did not reduce their taxation or give local governments additional funding to cover the cost of the downloads).
While serving as District director of Area A, I asked victim services in Smithers for an accounting of costs and for the following:
(1) How many people in Smithers access their services, and what that represents as a percentage of the cost; (2) How many people in Telkwa access their services, and what that represents as a percentage of the cost; (3) How many people in Area A of the Regional District, and what that represents as a percentage of the cost; (4) How many people outside these three areas (therefore not paying taxes to support this service) access their services and what that represents as a percentage of the cost?
At that time, I was told that victim services did not keep these statistics, and I was never provided with the information. I have not seen this information during the current discussion of changing the funding for victim services. How can we know whether the funding division is equitable if this information is not provided?
I understand many of the people who access victim services in Smithers live outside these taxation areas. Is it fair to ask local taxpayers to pay for services for people who live outside these areas? I think not.
I am retired and living on a fixed income. The cost of everything is increasing, from food and gas to taxes. I am sure that younger families are also feeling the pinch. We cannot afford to continue to take on others’ expenses.
Let your local government know that they should be investigating and getting an accounting of where the funding for victim services is going, and finding out where the people accessing the services live.
In addition, I note that the media has said that the process will be an alternative process, where people have to say whether they want or do not want to approve the taxation, but I have not seen any information explaining how one can express their opinion. I have looked on the web pages of Telkwa, Smithers and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako and found no such information. Please let people know where and how to express their opinion.