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Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

South Okanagan topics including Summerland, Naramata, Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, and Keremeos.

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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby twobits » Dec 8th, 2012, 8:35 am

XT225 wrote:Oh if there was a personal attack I missed it.


You didn't miss it because there was no personal attack XT. It's just that certain posters consider any posted view contrary to their own as a personal attack. I enjoy your posts even if I don't always agree with them.

Tax increase or none...it is a conundrum I was mearly pointing out when such a large percentage express not wanting one and being in the position of an elected council knowing the difficult reality of perhaps needing one. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
IMO, we need a little austerity pain now for a cpl more years until Penticton's tax rate falls more inline with that of similar BC communities. We went thru a number of Kimberly years where our tax increases were so outragious we became the highest taxed. Being a community with the highest mill rate does not help with home ownership nor does it help attract investment.
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

If we could just tax "stupid", there would be no government deficit
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby fluffy » Dec 8th, 2012, 8:53 am

Agreed, but still, a no-increase vote for the sake of one's own pocket-book might be a little shortsighted. Talk to a city employee about some of the pipes we have in the ground, or drive some of the more neglected side streets an it's easy to see that there is more to running a city than making high profile/high cost decisions. There is a subsistence level in infrastructure maintenance that can't be toyed with or the city literally crumbles beneath us.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby twobits » Dec 8th, 2012, 9:09 am

-fluffy- wrote:Agreed, but still, a no-increase vote for the sake of one's own pocket-book might be a little shortsighted. Talk to a city employee about some of the pipes we have in the ground, or drive some of the more neglected side streets an it's easy to see that there is more to running a city than making high profile/high cost decisions. There is a subsistence level in infrastructure maintenance that can't be toyed with or the city literally crumbles beneath us.


Absolutely correct however the infrastructure did not just begin to deteriorate over the last two zero mandate budgets. Money was spent by past administrations on excesive staff padding to the point of having to rent the old Kinsman building accross the street to house them, wasteful programs, rediculous grant generousity and so on. Staffing has been resolved but many of the other entrenched money pits are now difficult to back out of because of dependance and entitlment attitudes. Think of all the money that COULD HAVE gone to infrastructure. We need to get back on track tax wise and couple that with a sound and comprehensive long term plan for capital works that is followed and funded without breaking the taxpayers backs.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby fluffy » Dec 8th, 2012, 9:40 am

So the big question would be can we keep to a zero-increase in the cost of running the city, which would justify a zero-increase in taxation. Given of course that infrastructure will continue to need upgrades and/or replacement, staffing costs will continue to rise in conjunction with inflation, and interest rates on debt will do whatever they are going to do. My concern is whether or not a zero-tax-increase a PR move or is it in line with projected costs? Politicians are, after all, politicians. What they say and what their motivations really are do not necessarily fall into the same categories. (Cynicism by experience)
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 8th, 2012, 2:00 pm

I'm glad nobody is taking offense here; thats the beauty of good clean debate. If the majority of council agrees that we do not need to raise taxes this year (we elected them as a group, to make decisions for us) then I'm ok with it. However, if only the Mayor keeps the pressure on for zero percent, I think we might have a political situation going on; re the MLA job; just a feeling. They must do whats best for EVERYone and not give in to petty politics. I would not want to put off a minor increase for 2013 and then get hit with a 3 or 4 % increase in 2014. A little bit at a time is better in my opinion. An extra 400 grand for the RCMP and $550,000 for option 4 of Lakeshore improvements; thats almost one million that we didnt pay THIS year so how we can hold it at zero for next year is puzzling to me. I don't want to see whoever runs for council in 2014 blaming the past councils for what could be a financial mess in that election year. We see that happening ever so often but that doesnt make it right.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby fluffy » Dec 8th, 2012, 2:26 pm

XT225 wrote:I don't want to see whoever runs for council in 2014 blaming the past councils for what could be a financial mess in that election year. We see that happening ever so often but that doesnt make it right.


We've seen that one too many times already, and at too many levels of government. "If it wasn't for the previous administration we wouldn't have to be doing this to you now."
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby twobits » Dec 9th, 2012, 6:49 am

XT225 wrote: and $550,000 for option 4 of Lakeshore improvements; thats almost one million that we didnt pay THIS year so how we can hold it at zero for next year is puzzling to me.


XT, the 400k for the RCMP is a new ongoing future cost that funds will have to be found for now but the 550k is not a new ongoing expense and could ultimately be funded out of the capital works budget that would require no tax increase. Just means that street will get the money instead of another.
The wage increase for cupe members negotiated in the last contract is another item money will have to be found for that will be an ongoing future expense.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby twobits » Dec 9th, 2012, 6:57 am

-fluffy- wrote:
We've seen that one too many times already, and at too many levels of government. "If it wasn't for the previous administration we wouldn't have to be doing this to you now."


And there is the undeniable reality that many years of absurd tax increases have placed Penticton with the distinct honor of being the highest taxed community in the Thompson Okanagan region. Time to level the playing field.
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If we could just tax "stupid", there would be no government deficit
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby fluffy » Dec 9th, 2012, 7:40 am

That sounds good in principle, but thee realty of it is that to bring taxation down we have to reduce expenditures, and that's the challenge isn't it? Indiscriminate budget slashing is just going to come back and haunt us down the road with infrastructure that will end up needing replacement because it wasn't properly maintained or upgraded when it should have been. Staff reductions and/or workload increases? Thin ice there, staff has taken a beating over the past few years, I'm not sure if going back there at this time would be the wisest course.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 10th, 2012, 4:37 pm

Anyone have any idea why that Option 4 Lakeshore Drive costs are today quoted in the Herald today as being $650,000, not the $550,000 as previously stated? Since they haven't even broken ground on it yet.. nor put the bid out to tender, how can costs go up already?

Also, what, if anything is happening on the Sendero Canyon Subdivsion project? I believe the city put in around 2 million dollars into that project and have yet to see any return on that, because of the problems up there with infrastructure installation I believe.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby twobits » Dec 11th, 2012, 7:40 am

XT225 wrote:Anyone have any idea why that Option 4 Lakeshore Drive costs are today quoted in the Herald today as being $650,000, not the $550,000 as previously stated? Since they haven't even broken ground on it yet.. nor put the bid out to tender, how can costs go up already?

Also, what, if anything is happening on the Sendero Canyon Subdivsion project? I believe the city put in around 2 million dollars into that project and have yet to see any return on that, because of the problems up there with infrastructure installation I believe.


I had forgotten about that extra 100k too. As none of the options were cast in stone as take em or leave em, they were free to pick aspects of any plan to put together a final project vision. They tacked on that 100k for something that was not included in the option 4 outline. I recall thinking it made sense but for the life of me can't remember what it was. Maybe there is someone here with a better memory.

The finger pointing at Sendero Canyon is finished and an insurance company is paying to replace the 450 water supply piping. Not sure if the final dertermination was faulty pipe, faulty install, or combo. They started work a cpl of weeks ago I believe.
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If we could just tax "stupid", there would be no government deficit
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 11th, 2012, 7:22 pm

Thanks, twobits...good responses. Appreciate the info. Glad that Sendero Canyon is finally going to get fixed. I believe there was something in the paper today re that extra 100 grand that brings the lakeshore project up to $650,000. There was also talk of Memorial Arena in need of substantial repairs to the roof. I wonder how much we should throw at such an old building. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that we voted for the SOEC because we were told that Memorial had a very limited life span and would need to come down within 10 years or so. Did I dream that up; I dont think so. Can't blame any of the present council; Im sure that they weren't involved at the time. I do know that McLaren Arena was almost on the chopping block at one time but was saved. What I'm eluding to here is that I do not believe that any Zero tax increase is justified at this time, considering whats on the wish list. Oh, I know...they said they would be using the grant money from Westbench water but thats only a one time payment. We have to think long term here and not put off fattening up the pig somewhat or else the council of the day in 2014 is going to face a major problem. I would like to see a reasonable increase but I'm no accountant so can't say what that should be; will leave that to the experts. I would respect Dan Ashton a lot more if he would do the right thing for the future of the community and not saddle us with huge debt come 2014. Put politics aside and think about the people for a change.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby fiscalmind » Dec 15th, 2012, 9:24 am

A large miss conception is that a budget of zero will keep things as they are currently with no change when in effect it is a decrease. The municipality will have to deal with inflation weather they want to or not. The cost of things has and will go up, concrete, gas, diesel, pavement, paper, pencils, computers... everything cost more along with wages which the increases are still below the cost of inflation.

A budget increase of Zero is a decrease, so you are going to get a decrease in service levels if not right now eventually. The idea of using reserve accounts to balance the budget is insane, what happens if there is a major unexpected expense there are no reserves to repair it now... It seems rather short sighted... but the mayor joining the liberals seems short sighted other than he wants the pension that he tried to cut from all the city employees.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby theyeti » Dec 15th, 2012, 9:33 am

property values are dropping the city ought to make money out of that somehow
maybe they can invest in the future so to speak by securing chunks of land or something to that effect . build low income housing or whatever .. seems there are a few opportunities to make a buck out of falling prices
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby Darkre » Dec 15th, 2012, 11:21 am

The problem for cities is falling housing prices means lower tax revenues so the cities have less money to spend. Just further proof a 0% tax increase makes absolutely no sense.
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