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Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

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Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby mudlark » Nov 18th, 2012, 1:24 pm

Mayor Ashton gave the City Council an "A-plus" rating in yesterday's Herald.
What about the Hockey Dorm project? And then the Lakeshore improvement project? The Council only backed off on spending millions when citizens rose up against the project. Where was the Council's guidance while the Planning Dept was coming up with plans to spend $7+ million on Lakeshore improvements?
What about the lack of Council transparency? It seems like most of the important issues were decided "in camera".

Only time will tell if Council made the right decision to make a 30 year commitment to sell water to the West Bench at rates lower than Penticton taxpayers are paying. And only time will tell if Council made the right decision to dump the established brand of Ironman and go with the unknown Challenge Family. I think a C grade for council might be more appropriate.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby southy » Nov 18th, 2012, 1:49 pm

But Mudlark the difference between you and Ashton is you're not running for the Liberals :dyinglaughing:

Kidding Mudlark, I agree with you. Do you really think Ashton being in the position he is would give council a rating of anything less? Gotta remain positive .. gotta paint a really good picture out there and really have to take advantage of all that free press he's going to be getting. Yup ... Dan understands politics.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby hoot » Nov 18th, 2012, 2:51 pm

Mayor Ashton gave the City Council an "A-plus" rating in yesterday's Herald


Yeah sure, and I just voted myself the sexiest person on the Planet.

Both opinions show a complete lack of being in touch with reality.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 6th, 2012, 12:53 pm

I personally feel that Ashton giving city council an A-plus rating is simply his trying to start the Provincial MLA campaign ball rolling. Kind of like patting oneself on the back, too, as he is PART of council. If he can convince the public that council (with him at the helm) are fiscally conservative, then more people might vote for him provincially; especially considering the spending spree that the Province has been going through in the past year or two. He seems convinced that Penticton will once again have a zero percent tax increase for 2013. Some management staff disagree and have said that money might have to be taken from the continually dwindling reserve funds in order to accomplish this. Its not a bottomless pit/money tree. To me, thats like taking money from your RRSP in order to pay your grocery bills. It has to stop at some point. Just because few if any other cities in BC are going with zero percent increases might just say something but is council listening?
ps: I believe that last year, staff beancounters reccommended AGAINST a zero percent increase and council went against those suggestions, too. One would think that an accountant would know a bit more about things like this, than a politician.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby cutypi » Dec 6th, 2012, 2:02 pm

XT225 wrote: He seems convinced that Penticton will once again have a zero percent tax increase for 2013.


He is "practicing" his campaign technique by telling people what he thinks they want to hear. No tax hike must be good, right ?? Not necessarily, some times you need to keep pace with reality and a true leader would recommend that and then "sell" the electorate on why it is needed. A true Liberal will do whatever "they" want and then use tax dollars to "advertise" it into reality.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 6th, 2012, 2:47 pm

I could've been incorrect on the staff reccomendations for 2013 but am pretty certain that last year they did suggest an increase in taxation, which council went against. It was Mr. Leahy, whom I believe is the head beancounter, who stated this, in a recent media report:

Leahy’s five year forecasts show the deficit increasing, growing to just over $1.7 million in 2017. But if nothing changes, the city will be in trouble before then, Leahy said, as the reserves get depleted. His forecasts show the general surplus fund dropping to $262,000 in 2015 and entering negative territory in 2016.

“We are going to have to, in 2014 budget year, take a look at our budget either on the expenditure side or the revenue side in more detail,” said Leahy. “We have to eventually deal with the deficit.”

The prospect of declining reserve funds has caused some councillors, like John Vassilaki and Helen Konanz, to question the concept of keeping to zero tax increases.

“We keep digging into our reserves and we can only last so long before something has to give and we can’t stretch it anymore,” said Vassilaki. “If we don’t increase taxation at the rate of our increases, we are going to be further back on every front.”

ps: When I lived in Vernon a few years back, the mayor of the day, Mr. McG____, almost ran the citys' infrastucture into the ground by not keeping up with maintenance on roads, etc and insisting on low or no tax increases. Sure don't want to see a repeat of that here.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby twobits » Dec 7th, 2012, 8:35 am

And yet, in yesterdays Herald, results of a poll conducted by Discovery reaseach showed that 79% of residents want tax levels to remain where they are and a further 7% would like to see them reduced. That's a whopping 86% that disagree with your desire to see increased taxation and IMO, a huge mandate for council to keep the pencil sharp.
In defense of your position though XT is that it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a zero approach when things like the provincial gov't negotiated settlement with the RCMP hits our bottom line with a 400k increase this year alone. Something has to give in order to pay their higher salaries.
That's what makes the job so thankless. Increase taxes and 86% of the electorate have been dismissed. Cut some things to achieve a zero and sure as god made little green apples, those affected by the cuts will make as much noise as the 86% ever could.
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 cutypi » Dec 7th, 2012, 10:48 am

twobits wrote:That's what makes the job so thankless. Increase taxes and 86% of the electorate have been dismissed. Cut some things to achieve a zero and sure as god made little green apples, those affected by the cuts will make as much noise as the 86% ever could.


I totally agree, it is a double edged sword. People want their cake and eat it too. Don't raise taxes but don't cut services, give me a pay raise but don't raise prices. Give me a better return on my investments but keep mortgage rates at an all time low so I can keep my quarter million dollar condo (average price). I just heard a story of a family who own a million dollar house here in Penticton, that they are trying to sell and can't, but in the mean time they can't afford to keep insurance on it.

Yep all is good in Canada and of course BC is "booming" according to all the ads on TV (just had to get that in) I don't know, perhaps it's time for a reality check..!!
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 7th, 2012, 1:47 pm

I actually do not WANT to see a tax increase in Penticton; however I feel that in order to keep up with dwindling reserves, I feel that its necessary, especially when you see things such as twobits mentioned (a $400,000 increase in RCMP costs). I do not want to see the city broke; this is what happened in Vernon a few years back and there was no money to fix the broken infrastructure. Have you driven down Government Street lately? It is in serious need of re-paving and I dont think its in the near future plans. There could be some serious "slumpy" (pun intended) issues with underground sewer pipes; its an unknown. A zero percent tax increase isn't what all city council wants; thats been mentioned already. Some of them are not immediately wanting to gain votes (another pun intended) and are attempting to do the responsible thing. I cannot help believe that the reason our Mayor wants to see zero is because of the upcoming Provinicial election and his attempt to be seen as fiscally responsible. Being responsible also means doing the right thing, regardless of what it is. How will council look if the reserves are depleted in a year or two and we have to take a huge tax hit? The CFO (Mr. Leahy) has clearly stated that this WILL happen unless the course is changed and soon. He stopped short of suggesting to council that they should accept an increase for 2013 but it was pretty obvious what he meant. ps: note that some of the utility rates will rise substantially next year, so in a sense that already IS a tax increase. It is a double edged sword, for sure but one that must be dealt with. I have some RRSP's but I wouldnt touch them for daily expenditures, nor putting a new roof on my house unless it was an absolute emergency. Once again for those that didn't read it yet, here is what the CFO said:

Leahy’s five year forecasts show the deficit increasing, growing to just over $1.7 million in 2017. But if nothing changes, the city will be in trouble before then, Leahy said, as the reserves get depleted. His forecasts show the general surplus fund dropping to $262,000 in 2015 and entering negative territory in 2016. “We are going to have to, in 2014 budget year, take a look at our budget either on the expenditure side or the revenue side in more detail,” said Leahy. “We have to eventually deal with the deficit.”

Can you imagine anyone running for city council on or around the year 2014 if we don't change our ways now? They are going to look really bad and of course as usual, will be blaming the councils of days past. I would put my trust in an accountant far more than any politician.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby krocky » Dec 7th, 2012, 3:02 pm

For the first time in the city's history, Kelowna taxpayers will be asked to fork over more than $100M to maintain city services. City Manager, Ron Mattiussi Figures contained in the city's 2013 provisional budget show a total tax demand of $103.1M, an increase of $3.6M over the 2012 taxation demand of $99.5M. That's an average of about $880 for every man, woman and child in Kelowna. The increase will mean an average across the board tax hike of 2.54 per cent.


No increase needed in Penticton..?? Hummmm..
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 7th, 2012, 3:12 pm

Nope, we don't need any tax increases here, krocky. No debt to pay off in Penticton; nothing needing doing at all. We'll let the future councils deal with things. Why deal with today what you can put off til tomorrow? Maybe I will move to Greenwood or some other small town before the crunch year (2014).
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby twobits » Dec 7th, 2012, 7:20 pm

XT225 wrote:Nope, we don't need any tax increases here, krocky. No debt to pay off in Penticton; nothing needing doing at all. We'll let the future councils deal with things. Why deal with today what you can put off til tomorrow? Maybe I will move to Greenwood or some other small town before the crunch year (2014).


Yet 86% of the population does not agree with you. How do you reconcile that reality besides calling those 86% as "less astute than you"? It would appear that you are a minority faction and in a democracy who should prevail? And remember also, that you also pointed out that Ashton received less than 50% ofthe total vote thus diminishing legitimacy of victory. So please do tell......are 86% of residents wrong and you are correct? Sucks when the numbers can't be manipulated to your position doesn't it?
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 XT225 » Dec 7th, 2012, 8:22 pm

86% of the population may not WANT an increase (nor do you or I most likely) but it would appear to be the responsible thing to do, twobits. Even the CFO suggested that this trend cannot continue, so why wait til we are BROKE rather than take a positive proactive approach NOW and get things back on the road to INcreasing our reserves for a rainy day. After all, the "Slumpy" feelings about the sewers maybe needing rebuilding soon may not be that far fetched. Have you looked down a pipe lately? Just sayin. Re the mayor - I believe he actually received just over 30% of the vote; enough to squeek him in; just barely. Thats the system and we are stuck with it. I know you're a bean counter with some experience but I wouldn't go against what the CFO is trying to tell folks. He likely knows a lot more about bean counting than our politicians and the general public do.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby southy » Dec 7th, 2012, 9:11 pm

XT ... ignore the personal attacks. I tend to think you are right. The money has to come from somewhere and needs to show up fairly soon or the city is going to be in a real mess. What was the present mayor and council thinking? No take increases? NIce way to buy votes and keep the dogs from nipping at their heels I suppose, but like you say sooner or latter and I do believe sooner it will cost us. An A+ rating? For what? By the way, has there been any final figures released on the hockey dorm fiascal on Eckhart? Does that play into our debt and taxes? And if so how? Maybe I've missed seeing it, but really haven't heard or read anything on this matter.
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Re: Mayor gives City Council "A-Plus" rating

Postby XT225 » Dec 7th, 2012, 9:53 pm

southy wrote:XT ... ignore the personal attacks. I tend to think you are right. The money has to come from somewhere and needs to show up fairly soon or the city is going to be in a real mess. What was the present mayor and council thinking? No take increases? NIce way to buy votes and keep the dogs from nipping at their heels I suppose, but like you say sooner or latter and I do believe sooner it will cost us. An A+ rating? For what? By the way, has there been any final figures released on the hockey dorm fiascal on Eckhart? Does that play into our debt and taxes? And if so how? Maybe I've missed seeing it, but really haven't heard or read anything on this matter.


Oh if there was a personal attack I missed it. My skin is rather thick. I always just consider the source before ever getting offended by anyone. Check out the tax increase that Kelowna is forecasting. There arent many (I know of none) councils that are keeping things at Zero. City expenses go up. Reserves are dwindling. It cant continue. Even the experts are telling us this. I have never thought it appropriate to pat oneself on the back. Do a job and if you get thanks - great. I don't know anything about the hockey dorm situation other than it would likely fall into a C- category. Certainly not an A+. By the way, for the record, I looked up the last mayorilty election results. Mr. Ashton received 3124 votes whereas his opponents totalled 5361. It wasnt anywhere near 50% but thats how the system works. The vote was split and he was able to squeek by but barely. It wont happen in May. There is no third candidate (unless a green appears) to split the vote with.
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