Champion of democracy eyes municipal spending to prevent tax increases

October 3, 2011

Local activist Corisa Bell worked tirelessly nearly every day for two years without pay as a key figure in the successful fight against HST. She’s now taking her willingness to stand up and fight for the majority and her proven ability to lower taxes to the municipal level where she’s seeking a seat on Maple Ridge Council. If elected, Bell intends to restrain residential tax increases by assessing municipal spending.

“Taxes are being increased while our population grows, yet our services aren’t keeping pace,” says Bell. “This tells me there’s a problem with our spending.” Bell says if elected to Council she would evaluate municipal spending and work to ensure that the government is making decisions in the best interest of the people. “At times it feels like the government spends our money like it’s free, takes a raise, and then when the money is gone they simply tax us for more.”

Bell says this system can’t be sustained and if continued may push us from recession to depression. “Cost of living is at an all-time high and the majority of citizens can only pay so much tax from their income and still survive,” says Bell. “It’s time we did more with the money we have and leave citizens with some disposable income to enjoy time with their families and to stimulate the economy or we risk slipping from recession to depression.”

Bell wants to see municipalities be more transparent and accountable for their spending. “It’s not enough for the city to group expenses into categories of millions of dollars and tell us the budget is balanced,” says Bell. “I believe citizens have a right to know the purpose and value of cheques being written and have some say in whether those expenses are currently needed and represent good value.”

According to Bell, the lack of transparency intensifies a feeling of separation between government and the constituents. “Citizens used to feel the government was there to help them,” says Bell. “Now it feels like citizens have come to expect self-serving politicians who form ineffective, over-spending governments. People need to feel the government can work in their interest and have hope that if they vote the right people into Council this will happen.”

A stronger democratic connection between the people of Maple Ridge and the municipality is the first step in moving Maple Ridge forward, says Bell, stating she’d like Maple Ridge to catch up with our surrounding communities. “Maple Ridge seems to continue to build an abundance of residential properties while arguments about how and where to build commercial properties have left our increasing population without adequate local shopping or jobs. The result has been a city reliant on neighbouring communities, and a low corporate tax base that puts an alarmingly high reliance on personal tax dollars.”

Bell would like to see a clear vision for Maple Ridge that combines the competing interests within the community. “I believe the people want to see the city move forward with business development for local shopping and local jobs, responsible development that coincides with available services, improved services as opposed to government wage increases, and land to be left in the ALR when possible,” says Bell. “Now the people just need to know who to vote into Council to get the job done – starting with me.”

Website: http://www.corisabell.com/
Email: corisa@corisabell.com
Phone: 778.861.9477
Twitter: @corisabell

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