The results of the Town of Strathmore's Citizen Satisfaction Survey were announced yesterday, and one of the big focuses in the survey was how Strathmore residents feel about taxes.
To the surprise of almost no one, the majority of respondents were overwhelmingly against a tax increase. The survey gave respondents four possible choices for taxes, being:
- Increase taxes and expand services
- Increase taxes to maintain services
- Maintain taxes and decrease services
- Decrease taxes and decrease services
For those wondering why "maintain taxes and maintain services" wasn't an option, Lachlan Milne with Framework Analytics explained this option wouldn't give any valuable information to the town.
"That is intentionally omitted because that is the status quo, and also we live in a world of heavy inflation where things are more and more expensive. Nobody is going to be too upset if things stay the same, but if things have to change we want to know where we can land that would please the most people, or at least make the most people less upset."
Of the four responses, increasing taxes to maintain services received the most positive votes with 14%, and the lowest amount of disagreements with 37%. Hardly a ringing endorsement, but the most well received option none the less. However, what becomes very clear from this is that the majority of Strathmore residents do not want to see a decrease in services, even if that means taxes would go down as well.
Where the tax information becomes interesting is the next set of data, which compares respondents tax beliefs with what they believe is the biggest issue the Town of Strathmore needs to address.
This data could help the Town move forward with tax decisions with many different opinions in mind. For example, if you believed property taxes was the biggest issue the Town needed to address, you were likely to be very negative about the idea of increasing taxes to expand services.
On the other hand, those that wanted new or additional recreational facilities would be much more open to increased taxes, presumably, under the idea this would lead to more recreational facilities. By understanding how different people view the town's priorities in relation to taxes, it's possible that we could see this information used to shape tax decisions in the future.
It shouldn't come as a big surprise to see many different opinions on taxes, but through the survey, one thing became clear: Strathmore residents would prefer to keep taxes steady if possible, with a slight majority ok with an increase.
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