Dam money saves city’s bacon

The only way the city tax increase is below ten percent is because of a $300,000 transfer from McLean Mill dam repairs to the city.

To the Editor,

It’s important to realize that the only way the city residential tax increase is below ten percent is because of a one-time $300,000 transfer from the McLean Mill dam repairs to the city coffers.

Otherwise, the tax increase would be closer to eleven percent.

My specific recommendations for cost cutting were ignored: a museum admission charge, an end to the money-losing summer hockey school ($60,000 to $70,000 per year), and a big reduction in the travel budget for city councillors who all want to attend out-of-town conferences all the time.

The specific reason for the unnecessary, costly boondoggle of a new high school at the new location was to poach on city facilities such as the track.

As a condition of school relocation, the school district should have been required to pay for the maintenance of facilities such as the track and any ball fields, etc. that they may use.

That didn’t happen, so were stuck with a $700,000 bill for the track alone.

There has been no attempt to bring city managers to heel, including the Parks and Recreation and museum directors.

The museum budget and salaries,for example, are grossly inflated. And the McLean Mill and steam train operations have been a bad, expensive joke for over ten years.

Again, my experience in the museum field has been ignored. Specifically, I’ve said that McLean Mill needs at least 25,000 visitors annually to come close to breaking even, not 12,000 to 15,000.

Yet the very expensive farce goes on year after year. Well over $5 million dollars have been spent since 2000.

Others have commented upon our Cadillac fire department,  economic development office (which should be in the regional district), and very high wages, none of which are being brought under control.

The simple truth is that nobody at city hall cares about the bloated city budgets and the severe financial difficulties they create for some homeowners (and renters as their rates go up).

Who cares if some people are having great trouble in making ends meet? We bureaucrats and councillors are alright.

Let them eat cake.

Richard Berg,

Port Alberni

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