According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, municipal spending outpaced population growth and inflation between 2000 and 2010.
Had spending been held to that not unreasonable benchmark, British Columbians would have saved a whopping $4.26 billion in taxes, or $4,251 for a typical family of four.
Instead, B.C.'s real municipal operating spending skyrocketed by 49 per cent, nearly four times the growth in population.
To finance the spending increases over that decade, municipal taxes increased an average of 69 per cent and everything from parking to licence fees was hit with huge fee hikes.
But there is some encouraging news that bodes well for the future.
To give praise where due, Penticton and Kelowna have both significantly reined in spending.
Penticton managed a dramatic turnaround, moving from a 16 per cent increase in per capita operating spending over 2008-09 to a seven per cent reduction from 2009 to 2010.
Likewise, Kelowna recorded no increase in real operating spending per capita from 2009 to 2010, compared to a grossly unsustainable 14 per cent hike the previous year.
It took a recession to wake up the bean counters, but across the province, spending increased by just one per cent from 2009 to 2010, down from seven per cent between 2008 and 2009.
Things are moving in the right direction, but it's early days yet. Let's hope City Hall can stay on track.
- Managing Editor