Letter: City manager pushing tax hikes

Mr. Mattiussi’s 10 audited financial statements from 2006 to 2015 show cumulative average tax hikes totaling 27.3 per cent.

To the editor:

Since Ron Mattiussi became city manager in December 2006 he has brought forward 12 annual financial plans each with tax increases that have burdened taxpayers with millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses.

Mr. Mattiussi’s 10 audited financial statements from 2006 to 2015 show cumulative average tax hikes totaling 27.3 per cent. Mattiussi’s two unaudited provisional budgets for 2016 and 2017 contain additional average tax hikes of 4.11 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively. Over 12 years, Mattiussi raised the average property tax by 35.8 per cent.

To put this tax hike in perspective, actual taxation revenue rose $55.7 million, or by a whopping 79 per cent, from $70.2 million in 2005 to a projected $125.9 million in 2017.

Mattiussi is tax hungry and his management value to taxpayers must be questioned because he is having a huge financial impact on them.

The main reason taxes have gone up so much is because Mattiussi has given away millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money each year to support new development projects.

For example, Mattiussi supports giving developers a 27 per cent subsidy for new roads, parks, sewers and water systems needed by their projects. A March 2, 2016 city staff report to Mattiussi estimates these new infrastructure subsidies will cost taxpayers $165.6 million by 2030. This is a $15.8 million, or 10.5 per cent increase above the 2011 estimate and is not sustainable.

Mattiussi also supports waiving developer cost charge fees for secondary suite, micro-suite and affordable housing projects. As well, he supports giving a number of these projects unsustainable 10-year tax breaks.

Mattiussi currently supports an infill-housing plan on 1,000 lots located between Richter and Ethel streets for up to 4,000 new homes. He is taking this plan to public hearing (Dec. 13) without disclosing how much public money is needed for developer subsidies and how these subsidies will impact taxpayers in future years.

Mattiussi receives a large annual salary and a five-figure expense account from taxpayers. Unlike most Kelowna taxpayers, his salary rose 68 per cent from 2005 to 2015, or by $115,400 from $170,000 to $285,400.

Taxpayers must question why they pay Mattiussi to give their hard-earned money to developers and then must urge council to show him the door.

Richard Drinnan, Kelowna