October 21st, 2020

City needs to rein in loose spending


By Letter to the Editor on May 9, 2020.

When will “reality” set in? I reference the rampant desire of our city council to spend “taxpayer” dollars on totally discretionary projects.

Save the efforts of (sometimes) a “troika” of city council members, our city council appear and act oblivious to where this coronavirus (COVID-19 and other nomenclatures) is and could take us.

During this crisis “responsible citizens” have, for the most part, voluntarily and drastically amended lifestyles in several ways including spending. Without a doubt, the impending economic climate and perhaps dismal future lay before us. Most agree that is not the time to be needlessly spending money.

Yes, there is and may be further monies available through the provincial and federal government; keep in mind, this is not “free money”! It has not sprouted on trees. These are taxpayer dollars. It is not right or just for our local city council to have recently approved a number of non-discretionary expenses with some of them carrying a significant price tag. The acquisition of the airport, with one airline already vacated and the other providing limited service (and may completely withdraw service), will the City still go ahead with multi-million-dollar renovations?

In the recent past, city council has spent our tax dollars on “shiny penny” projects that supposedly benefit our community, but in reality “may” serve a few. I reference (1) 7 Avenue bike path (very seldomly used); (2) automatic-cleaning public washroom/toilets (now decommissioned); (3) “digital speed signs on Whoop-Up Drive (often not in service or posting incorrect speed information); (4) The “very necessary” replacement of parking meters with the robotic nuisance; (5) the costly implementation of the City “curbside recycling and Material Recycling Facility (soon to be a white elephant).

Now today, the 3 Avenue upgrade approved expenditures is perplexing considering infrastructure rehabilitation is sorely needed for water main and sewer piping. Allocation of millions of our tax dollars toward the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden at this time is totally ludicrous. Even though two of our council members attempted a motion to delay the Nikka Yuko project, their motion was defeated on the basis that the project was “shovel ready.”

Dear fellow taxpayers, the truth is that if this “unbridled” spending by our city council is not curtailed, it will be the collective taxpayers graves that are “shovel ready” as we will be killed by inevitable, ensuing tax increases!

Harold Pereverseff

Lethbridge

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chinook

As you point out, the waste is over the top and there is NO Accountability!! A native ‘cultural centre’ is being pushed on us in spite of the fact that we already have a ‘multi cultural’ centre that cost us millions. No idea how to get through to this council or the admin that is behind every wasteful decision. Only hope is next election to get people in who own/ have owned their own businesses and understand how to run things efficiently with little waste and not be swayed /pressured to make decisions based on guilt, shame or other forms of manipulation. Respect for the tax payer needs to be front and centre along with some method to hold those who do waste our money accountable.

Citi Zen

Those making these stupid spending decisions have a great teacher and mentor in Ottawa.

biff

well, harold, here we have an area on which we agree! bravo! the city just spends and spends like money is pouring in from all over; like the economy is open ended and booming. it is my sense that this nonsense is lining pockets, but how can one be certain without an outside and independent scouring of the books. that the city will not commission audits – particularly around land deals involving the city – is unacceptable. moreover, one is left to wonder why provincial laws are not in place that require cities to undergo audits with regularity.

snowman

WE definitely do not need a native culture center within the city they have a new on the reserves they have a native friendship center on 1st ave south paid for by us the taxpayers including yearly operating cost that could be used for homeless dopies. but only special natives are allowed there. they could put up 25-30 beds not put them up in hotels, Fritz Sick.
The Mayor says taxpayers will pay for the line of credit interest payments etc. Why? Look at the City financial statements eg. reserve funds, We do not need a $60 million line of credit probably to pay for their approved Performing Arts Centre increased now to $75 million from $50 million by PAC committee chaired by councilor Carlson and Cambell both should declare a conflict of interest by the association with New West Theatre
Our debt is now over $ 200 million from $80m created since Spearmen and council buddies terms in office. The new $17m organic facility borrowing. Like New York bylaw all businesses and Households must have digesters to eliminate food waste. Look at the Herald restaurants and fast foods list over 100 how much food waste but residentials will pay the Spearman bill, not necessary. Take a look at all business unit reserves over 90m The revenue from the MRF recycles revenues deposited in the Waste Processing fund also the so-called residential curbside recycle collection revenue deposited in Waste collection fund, not in Recycle Services Fund. The questionable $ 1.8 million increase in operating cost of the MRF , materials recovery facility. All hidden accounting not in Recycle Services account.
It is time for citizens to file a complaint with Municipal Administrator or Ombudsman office for gross mismanagement of City fund and business unit accounting, whose ready to take them on.

ChuckB

What I wonder is why on earth they are going to tear out the brick planters on 3rd Ave? Could that money not be better used elsewhere, rather than removing perfectly good, nice looking planters? If we are just going to remove old things to spruce things up, I suggest Mayor Spearman next. Then, some of his cronies. They seem to like to spend all out of proportion to the revenue stream. We are in a recession. Spend the money on programs that actually help people. I agree with their decision to cancel a tax increase and eliminate the BRZ levy. Now spend some money on things that will help people like food banks… Defunding ARCHES, really good start. Food banks can actually save lives!

phlushie

chuck b, excellent advice and remembered for next civic election. out with the old in with the new.