Activist turns to city politics

October 6, 2011

By Maria Tantanen, The Times

Corisa Bell thinks people are “maxed out” and can’t take any more tax increases.

No more tax increases – that’s one of the key messages an anti-HST organizer is trying to get out as she makes a bid for Maple Ridge council.

Bell, who got involved in the successful campaign to get rid of the harmonized sales tax, has announced she will run for a council seat in the Nov. 19 election.

Bell said people are “maxed out” and can’t handle any more tax increases, and she’d like to see more accountability on how governments spend taxpayer money.

“I think government spending at all levels is out of control,” Bell said.

If elected to council, Bell said she would evaluate municipal spending to make sure 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 for more,” Bell said.

Bell would like to see more transparency and accountability in municipal spending.

“It’s not enough for the city to group expenses into categories of millions of dollars and tell us the budget is balanced,” Bell said. “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.”

Bell, who lives in the Rock Ridge area, would also like to see improved roads, for example, and more transit services.

She’d like Maple Ridge to “catch up” with other municipalities.

“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.”

Through the anti-HST movement, Bell said she was “thrown into” politics at the provincial level, but she feels more connected to the municipal level of politics.

“I want to represent the people of Maple Ridge and be a voice for what they want for Maple Ridge,” Bell said.

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