The rural squeeze

I knew this was coming sooner or later.

The president of the Fredericton Youth Hockey Association expects to lose hundreds of players because of the city’s plan to increase rink user fees by hundreds of dollars for rural families.

People who live outside the city will be charged $340 to use local rinks this fall, a fee that will rise to $680 in 2007. The levy is on top of the annual $300 fee to play in the league.

Fredericton city council voted to hike the fees Monday after outlying communities refused to raise their tax rate to help Fredericton pay for two new rinks and renovate a third.

When you work with cities as much as I have you realize there is a lot of grumbling about those who would live outside the city and yet use its facilities.

I pay an egregious property tax to live in downtown Moncton and a friend of mine pays literally a small fraction (25%) by living outside the city.

Gone are the good old days of cross-subsidzation. That, my friends, might be a harbinger for future Equalization talks.

You know the old biblical parable about the guy who had his massive debt forgiven and turned around and had a guy beat and put in prison that couldn’t pay a few pennies debt. What happened to that guy in the end.

Yowsa.

Beware.

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