Alberni region should share costs

One Alberni readers tosses some ideas to city council before they adopt the draft five year financial plan.

To the Editor,

Here are some ideas that the city should consider in finalizing the 2012 budget.

The proposed residential tax increase is 5.8 per cent.

I believe that that this increase should be halved to 2.9 per cent and that budgetary cuts should be made to achieve that target.

I believe that there needs to be a better balance between spending on vital city infrastructure such as roads, water, and sewage disposal and treatment, and spending on Parks and Recreation, the museum, and McLean Mill.

Specifically, I would recommend that the museum budget be frozen and that the parks and recreation budget be reduced.

As regards the McLean Mill and the steam train, attendance has never risen anywhere close to the financial breakeven point. And with attendance in the 13,000 to 15,000 range, it will never do so.

If the Industrial Heritage Society cannot create a business plan showing within two years how it plans to balance expenditures with revenues, then the annual subsidy of more than $200,000 should end.

At the museum, a turnstile should be installed with a flat fee of $1 or $2 being charged.

At the regional level, the city should pursue or expand/accelerate the regionalization of services:  parks and recreation, fire protection, the museum, McLean Mill and the steam train.

I am sure that many others would agree to the above or similar budgetary adjustments as we must start to accommodate the financial restrictions and changes that the city along with the provincial and federal governments are facing now and in the future.

David Stern,

Port Alberni