Letter: Writer’s plea for fiscal restraint before council held wage increase

Dear Editor,

Covid-19 has posed a challenge like none other to Canada and Canadians have risen in kind to meet it. We have met it with strength, determination and compassion.

But most of all, we have met it with deep sacrifices across the board to ensure our friends, family and community remain safe.

What does that sacrifice entail? It means that up to four million Canadians could be without jobs to stop this disease in its tracks.

Difficult times will be upon us all. Livelihoods will be lost. Families will be strapped for money.

People will worry about whether they can make ends meet, or if they will even have a roof over their heads.

Make no mistake, this will play out in all communities across Canada and Niagara. It is only a matter of time before the economic impact will make itself felt in Niagara. So, if Canadians are making sacrifices in defence of our communities, what is it that Council can do to support its constituents?

I humbly ask that council (for that matter any municipal government considering property tax increases) reconsider the Grimsby component of the 13% property tax and defer it for a year.

This would mean deferring:

• Planned studies

• Hiring for roles like the Economic Development Officer

• The proposed transit system (which may not get much use under current circumstances).

I do not make these suggestions lightly. I am not asking that the budget items be permanently removed. Nor do I think cuts are necessary. I do believe the proposed expenditure will eventually be needed because of years of underfunding by previous administrations. But in the days and weeks coming up, Canadians will be forced to make hard choices about what they have to give up. Surely Council can do the same, to ensure that even seemingly minor incremental costs are not an additional burden for us. For those on Employment Insurance, that small amount could be the difference between keeping our homes or not.

My one caveat to this is West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Covid-19 is the wakeup call that we need a hospital now. Any funding from the municipalities should proceed as fast as possible to ensure our communities are serviced in times of crisis like this with a state of the art health facility.

Let me finish with this thought…

Covid-19 will be written about in the history books and will be read about a 100 years from now. What is it that you wish would be said about you, if asked, how did you help your community in this time of crisis?

Help us, while we sacrifice to protect all Canadians.

Nameer Rahman

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