Once upon a time, there was a happy little town situated on a riverbank. People thought of calling it Happy Valley.
One year, shortly after an election of town officials, the council decided to increase seniors’ tax by 300 per cent. Now, it was not a happy town anymore, as a large number of citizens thought that the increase was too sudden and too much all at one time.
Little did the town council know what devastation they would cause. Some of the elders would have to put their homes on the market, as they could not afford to pay the tax and would be charged interest for delinquent payments, which in turn would cause more hardship, as most of these seniors were on a fixed income or pension.
In order to be eligible for a discount, they would have to inform the council of the amount of their earnings — information that is not for everyone to know.
There is a shortage of low rental housing in the area, but if a large number of seniors put their houses up for sale, this would flood the market and lower the sale price for homes, which in turn will leave the senior’s homeless and create more problems.
The town will then have to find more money to help the homeless situation, which they have grown into a more critical situation. Will the provincial or federal governments step in to correct a situation that has been created by a municipal government? Not very likely, as they knew that a housing crisis had already existed in the community for years.
There could be upwards of anywhere from 50 to 100 low incomes required to alleviate the situation — all this by the council requesting two or three hundred thousand dollars from its senior citizens.
How much will it cost to provide the additional housing, and how much will the other taxpayers be required to pay for this kind of increase? That amount will cause a substantial increase in the mill rate for everyone, including seniors.
Does this situation sound familiar?
— David Massie is a senior citizen from Happy Valley-Goose Bay