Letter: West Kelowna’s budget requires scrutiny

“Please attend the public budget meeting at the Lions Hall on Feb. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m.”

To the editor:

City hall, fire hall or works yard, West Kelowna ten-year capital plan lists:

• City Hall – Land purchase/acquisition – $1.7 million

• City Hall – Concept Plan – $200,000

• City Hall – Tender drawings – $ 1.8 million

• City Hall – Phase ONE construction – $ 20 million

• Phase One Grand Total – $23 million

It also also lists:

• Fire Hall – land, design and construct – $8.5 million

We own the Bartley Stevens land which is going to be totally wasted for a works/junk yard. We have previously purchased land for the failed Elliott Road city hall.

READ MORE: Chance for residents to talk with West Kelowna Council about budget

Yet this council wants to purchase land and develop new drawings at a cost to taxpayers of $3.7 million for the city hall and $1.5 million for land and drawings for a fire hall.

We could save almost all of this by centralizing at the Bartley Stevens location.

Council is taking $700,000 or 2.26 per cent per year from our annual taxation for their city hall plan. A three per cent tax increase brings $930,967 of which the council is taking $700,000.

New Mayor Gord Milsom wants to increase our annual taxation to 3.88 per cent or $1.2 million and he even considered 4.88 per cent. Why?

Because he likes eights (see Jan 15/19 webcast Hour 5:56:30) and/or could put some of the addition into reserves or spend it on the mayor’s new communications person. If we give them the money, they will spend it.

The budget was based on a three per cent increase. It covered all of the expenses, hired 20 more city staff members ($1.5 million per year), purchased 13 new city staff and RCMP vehicles ($1.3 million), new roads, new water storage, etc. So why do we need to go to 3.88 per cent?

Don’t let them tell you that the extra .88 per cent is to cover the BC Medical corporate costs as that too was included in the three per cent.

Spending taxpayer funds on soccer domes and city staff works yards does not meet the needs of all taxpayers? What are the priorities?

Please attend the public budget meeting at the Lions Hall on Feb. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m., and tell your city council to live within our means and don’t get tricky at finding ways to take our money. Ways such as franchise fees, parcel taxation and user fees.

Robert George

West Kelowna

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