Mar. 14, 2017

Let's keep our wallets zipped up for a while


By Merv Unger


03/14 - Some people came out with their shopping lists for an $80-million bonanza even before the events centre referendum was soundly defeated.

Caution: that’s not $80 million burning a hole in our pants pockets, that was money that was to be borrowed, so in reality there is none.

However, there was some money city council had found, money to make the mortgage payments on an events centre, to the tune of $5.4 Mllion a year over the next 20 years. That was money council told us was available without raising taxes.

Using the argument that each million dollars represents one per cent of taxes, we should be able to expect a five-per-cent tax decrease now that we won’t be spending it on hockey. There is that little thing about spending somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1 million on preparation work for the arena idea and the referendum. So, we take that off and we could have a four-per-cent tax decrease.

Hold it just a minute. Maybe we could spend some of that on fixing the potholes and the streets that have deteriorated to the point of needing total repaving. Shall we say three per cent left?

Since buying the Rotary Bowl property, there’s work to be done that the city says we have money for, like a CFL-quality artificial turf football field. Well, take a little more from the slush fund and upgrade it to a proper stadium worthy of a multiple times national junior championship community-run football team.

The way this is going will result in no tax cut, but at least we won’t owe $80 million.

Before we get all warm and comfortable about that, Coun. Jerry Hong’s referendum night response to the outcome was the events centre dream is far from over.

Does the provincial election recall legislation also apply to municipal councils? All it would take is about 33,000 signatures.