A taxpayer’s penny for your thoughts

District of Invermere hosts coffee chats Thursday, November 14th for tax talks

The District of Invermere (DOI) wants to know how you’d like your tax dollars spent and what you’d like so much that you’d voluntarily open your wallet.

Mayor Al Miller is inviting residents to join him and other council members for coffee and conversation the morning of Thursday, November 14th. Council will be holding meetings at A&W at 8:30 a.m., at The Bistro Restaurant at 9:45 a.m. and at the Invermere Bakery at 10:45 a.m..

He said council used to hold budget discussions at the district office, but found it challenging to get people to attend. Instead of asking the community to come to council, council decided to go out to the community.

“There’s usually people there that will take the time to comment because you’re coming to their turf, to their comfort level,” he said, adding that the coffee meetings are “a great chance to talk to people and really get their concerns.”

A few common issues he’s been hearing are complaints about potholes and challenges around housing.

“I like open dialogue, and I like people to tell me what they think so that we can then take those thoughts and ideas and try and deal with them,” he said.

The DOI is also conducting a survey in advance of the 2020 budget to ask residents questions around what they want and how badly they want it.

For instance, if you support a tax increase in exchange for more environmental programs, how much would you be willing to pay? If you want to see the DOI offer food-waste collection, how much would you shell out for it? If you want the DOI to provide more services, how much of a tax increase would you support?

The questions around how much people would be willing to pay to have the services they would like are intended to gauge how serious residents are about their concerns, Mayor Miller said.

“Sometimes we’ll have people saying we need to have such-and-such asset,” he said. “So what value do they hold for that? How much are they willing to pay for something like that? It just gives us a little bit (of information) as to how strongly they feel about something.”

He said he’s noticed that people’s interest levels can drop when they realize what they want comes with a cost.

The DOI budget survey also asks about hours at the Althalmer garbage and recycling drop-off point, possibilities for the Lake Windermere Resort Lands the DOI bought, the potential for taking over James Chabot Provincial Park, boundary expansion, replacing culverts in Abel Creek, saving up for water and sewer investments, and more.

To share your feedback and let council buy your coffee, visit them at a local establishment on Thursday, November 14th. To fill out their survey, go to www.invermere.net or pick up a copy at the DOI office.

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