Alberni’s spending annoys writer

To the Editor,

The spending binge continues at city hall with a four-year retroactive wage and benefit package awarded to CUPE employees of about 11 per cent (compounded).

And city council has reduced a contingency fund of $58,000 to less than $17,000 by waiving a charge of more than $40,000 to the Alberni Athletic Association. Staff recommended a reduction of the payment to $17,748.88, but council decided to waive the entire bill relating to sewer and storm drain connections to Roger Street.

By so doing, our spendthrift council now has less money to give to other community groups in need of financial assistance. A bad precedent.

The scheme was the brainchild of councillors Ike Patterson and Kenn Whiteman; it was the latter who put forth the absurd idea that the city could recoup more than $40,000 by getting free use of the Athletic Hall when needed for civic events.

Meanwhile, city residential taxpayers have had to endure unnecessary cuts to services such as garbage collection and pool closures.

It needs pointing out that the $ 41,000 gift to the athletic association, plus the $24,000 for a study for a new pool more than cover the $60,000 cost of keeping the pool open the extra weeks in the summer.

And there’s been absolutely no change in the policy of double taxation for 2010. The city collected millions of dollars from Catalyst Paper and then foisted a 23.6 per cent tax increase on residential taxpayers. The result is a huge budgetary surplus which city council is tossing away like cotton candy.

If Catalyst wins its tax appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada, then the chickens will come home to roost.

Richard Berg,

Port Alberni