Tax increases, priority setting top Siebring’s list in North Cowichan council campaign

Al Siebring announced Sept. 17 that he will be seeking a third term on North Cowichan council.

"This past term has been very frustrating for me personally and I seriously thought about not doing it but, equally, I have a certain skill set and I can use it to make the community better so let’s go for it," he said.

Siebring is again drawing a line in the sand to delineate the focus of his campaign.

He intends, if re-elected, to present two motions to council within 90 days of the election.

These will ask council to establish a firm limit on residential property tax increases so they will not exceed the rate of inflation for the Cowichan region and also that councillors set priorities, on a sliding scale, as to which services or expenditures are really essential and which might reasonably be cut or eliminated.

Putting up such a platform is standard election procedure for Siebring.

In 2008 he called for a second look at the alternative approval process. In 2011, it was a motion to look at amalgamation with Duncan.

"That initially failed but we managed to work that thing through to the point now that both communities will hopefully be asking a question. I feel pretty good about that one," he said.

Taxes are a key issue for the veteran councillor, who points to "the egregious shift of taxes away from the industrial base and onto the backs of homeowners" and "pet projects like the half-per cent ‘Climate Action Plan Surtax’" as issues he’s fought.

"The total amount of money that North Cowichan collects and spends has increased by 10 per cent per year for the past 10 years… this is simply not sustainable."

But even with that, he wants to remain his own man on council.

"I don’t want the endorsement of folks like the Taxbusters but I’ve always been an independent guy."

Siebring is setting his sights on council, despite people urging him to seek the mayoralty.

"There are a couple of other people running that have that same political mindset as I do so if we all run for mayor, we’ll split the vote and blow each other’s brains out. Somebody’s got to step back and I’m ready to do that."

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