There's an old saying that says, there are only two things certain in this life, death and taxes.
Prince George is no exception to this statement with thousands of people every year paying their taxes on time with some struggling more than others to pay the ever-increasing cost.
But struggle or not we still pay our taxes.
And after we pay our taxes we may complain that the city is not doing a good enough job using those taxes.
But at least we pay our taxes.
Yesterday The Citizen ran a story about one person who did not pay his taxes, and not just for one year, he was in arrears for three year's totalling $15,064.78 in taxes and penalties.
Now he is not the only person to have been in arrears, there are a bunch of people every year that fail to pay on time and the city makes the list of delinquent residences public.
The only difference is that this person is a city councillor and, until recently, chair of the city's finance and audit committee. Part of his duties on this committee were to approve how your taxes were spent.
We can all understand if someone wasn't on time with their taxes, most people have paid a bill late at one point in their life, but councillor Cameron Stolz was delinquent with his taxes for three years.
So this was not an accident. Coun. Stolz made a conscious decision not to pay his taxes for those three years, yet still decided where our tax money was spent. It is a little hypocritical don't you think?
In the story Stolz blamed not paying his taxes on his business feeling the effects of "the global recession we all went through. This has now turned around."
Does this mean that if his business still wasn't doing so well he wouldn't have paid his taxes. Or did he only pay up because his house was going to be sold to retrieve the money owed.
Stolz has no excuse. Even though his business may not have been doing well, as a city councillor he has been paid close to $30,000 each year over those three years all out of taxpayers money. The very money he decided not to contribute to. Could he not have paid his taxes out of his councillor's wages, and should the city not have garnished his pay to get the money?
Stolz should have stepped down from the finance and audit committee after the first year of not paying his taxes, and should now stand down as a city councillor.
He may have paid up now but it is a little too late.
Like the rest of us Stolz should have given up some of life's luxuries like vacations, vehicles, cable TV and so on to make sure his taxes were paid on time. Maybe he could have sold his house and moved to a smaller home with a smaller tax bill.
Stolz said, "I think when you're in a position of authority as a chair of a committee, concerns can be raised because of the situation I'm in. And I thought it was best to alleviate those concerns."
It's funny that he didn't come to this conclusion the first year he decided not to pay his taxes.
Stolz did not pay his taxes for three years and did not inform the mayor and council immediately, did not step down from the city's finance and audit committee immediately and believes now that he has paid the taxes everyone who works hard and does without certain luxuries to pay their taxes on time should be OK with this.
Sorry councillor, but it is not OK.
Acting as chair of the city's finance and audit committee or even a member of the committee could be seen as a conflict of interest. To step down is the right thing to do, only it is three years too late.
If councillor Stolz wants everything to be OK, and really wants to alleviate the situation he needs to step down as a councillor and concentrate on his business to make sure his taxes do not go into arrears again.