LETTER: Rural residents are not freeloaders

From reader Reggie Goldsbury

At a recent community engagement meeting Area E residents were told they were “freeloaders.” I have lived and worked in Area E since childhood and am happy to report some of the hardest working, most charitable, contributing and practical people live in our rural community.

Constituents have a right to question extra taxes being levied, especially during this time of rapid inflation. The Regional District of Central Kootenay presented two new taxes for Area E this summer at a time when many have been distracted, and only weeks before an election campaign begins. Many in Area E remain unaware of the new recreation tax that is now going through. As for the library tax, they received no answer when asking where over $75,000 was going, above and beyond the $31,500 they already pay in user fees. Most of those frustrated and discontented with RDCK action feel out-of-the-loop.

When it comes to issues like tax increases and community zoning we deserve extensive collaboration and the opportunity for lots of discussion. Area E residents should be able to question tax increases and get answers without being called names. Many believe these tax increases should be an election issue to allow better understanding and discussion. This last-minute push for more tax money appears manipulative and divisive, even if that is not the intent.

I want to thank our retiring representative, Ramona Faust, for her service. We now have the opportunity for a new champion for our amazing rural culture. Let’s vote for improved communication, extensive consultation, greater collaboration, better inclusion and ongoing consensus building. With the right opportunities I know the practical folks of Area E will work together to make the right decisions.

Reggie Goldsbury