Last year’s rookie city council stayed true to its elected word with a two-per-cent residential tax increase and a relatively tame budget.
This year, though, they seem to have come out of the gate with something to prove: an approximate four per cent overall proposed increase (six per cent residential, zero per cent industrial, one per cent business and one per cent for non-profits and farms) and some interesting wish list items so far.
The pressure is on for this council to prove something with its 2016 budget and subsequent financial plan. It just remains to be seen what, exactly, council wants to prove in its sophomore year.
One area we are disappointed to see without an increase is the engineering department’s infrastructure budget. City engineer Guy Cicon told council last year his weakening road budget cannot stay ahead of road maintenance, and yet this year his budget is nearly $200,000 less than in 2015.
Infrastructure is our city’s foundation: and if our foundation is crumbling, how can we possibly build a solid core on top of it?
Worse yet, with our aging infrastructure, what would happen if we got hit with a 4.0 earthquake or worse? It could devastate the city; how important would things like boulevard medians and bike lanes seem then?
Perhaps we should look at going green in our future. After all, we are becoming known as ‘Pot Alberni’.
Just think of the revenue stream once that is legalized.
— ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS