Municipal projects add to Summerland’s debt – Summerland Review
Now Summerland Council will borrow $6.5 million to redo Giants Head Road and add even more to our unhealthily growing debt.
We have to borrow because our municipal financial system funded by taxes and levies doesn’t have funds for routine maintenance, so we take on more debt.
This loan will be paid for by a special tax levy and higher water tariffs.
The reason we have no more money for routine maintenance is due to other large spending projects of little need, value, or relationship to the size of the community.
Like a solar panel project that will now cost $10.4 million plus a new lease of special technology when we have a fully adequate supply of zero-emission electric power, 22 additional electric vehicle charging stations when existing ones are empty for $500,000, an aquatic center for a whopping price now at $37.4 million.
And now a separate loan due to a depleted cash position in the Giant’s Head project at $6.5 million.
When you look at these big expenses, you might think we’re a big community, but we’re not.
The latest census puts us at 11,615 people in 5,426 dwellings, and when you do the simple math of the tax needed to support just the project expenses mentioned here, $54.8 million in total, that’s quite meaningless.
Here’s a quote from Summerland Councilor Erin Trainer on the aquatic center project: “$15 million is a lot to spend to upgrade a facility that’s already 50 years old, and I wonder if it’ll last another 30 years.
“While spending $30 million on a new facility is also expensive, but it’s spread over a long period of time and I believe it will last us longer and serve our community for generations to come.”
What’s astounding is that there’s not a word of concern about where the money is coming from and where it puts the taxpayers of this community, and the flippancy of $15 million versus $30 million, which now costs $37.4 million.
The proposed reconstruction of the existing center was found to be quite viable and adequate.
It would be nice if we could have it all, a kind of utopia, but anyone with common sense knows that’s not possible given all the taxes we already pay.
It’s an election year for the council, and it may be time to renew its profile from head in the clouds to feet on the ground.
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Letter to the EditorSummerland