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Decision time for Kimberley taxpayersPosted: March 19, 2012

Letter to the Editor

The Alternative Approval Process (AAP), also known as the ‘reverse petition’ is a method used to gauge public interest in a project and a back door approach to allow the City of Kimberley to proceed to spend XXX dollars toward a specified project. In the case of the AAP for the Mark Creek Flume, the city is requesting taxpayers’ approval to borrow up to $4.25 million for improvements to the Mark Creek Flume. Approval of the electors by Alternative Approval Process is granted if less than Five Hundred and Twenty-Three (523) Elector Response Forms are completed and mailed to or submitted to the Office of the Chief Corporate Administration Officer by 4:45 p.m. Tuesday April 17, 2012.

Points to consider

Including the interest on the loan the true cost to the taxpayers for this proposed project is approximately $6.6 million and not $4.25 million as the city would like you to believe.

The Flat Tax increased by $100.00 in 2011, which generates approximately $327,376.00 per year for infrastructure replacement and now, the city want taxpayers to pay again?

Without detailed construction specifications the city doesn’t know how many homes, businesses or private lands the city will have to purchase or expropriate. What will this cost?

Without design specifications, performance and detailed construction specifications complete with a total bill of materials to be exported, coupled with the volumes of materials to be imported, how can any person estimate the “direct” construction cost of this project will be $4.25 million?

Most responsible people don’t purchase a $30,000 automobile or a $300,000 home without knowing all the bells and whistles included plus all financing or mortgage costs so why would responsible taxpayers treat this project any differently?

Why should the 978 individual taxpayers living in the ski hill area pay on average 12% less than the 116 taxpayer’s living in the Swan Sub area are paying, toward paying down this $6.6 million loan?

This may well be a great project to return the creek to its natural state with birds singing in the trees, kids swimming and frolicking around in the ponds, kayaking , coupled with park benches for tourist and locals to relax and read a book. Who knows, it might even come in on budget, but if it did, it would be a first. However, the risks involved and all the unknowns are too great to provide a blank check to the City at this time. If more than 523 Elector Response Forms are submitted and they are correctly filled out, the city must either proceed no further with the proposed project or submit it to referendum. A referendum is a far more democratic process in the first place and this project should have been thoroughly and thoughtfully compiled and readied to go to referendum at the time of the last municipal election.

There are approximately 5,239 eligible voters in this town and 2,780 responsible voters exercised their right to vote in the last municipal election. Surely out of 5,239 eligible voters, 523 to 530 responsible voters will come forward and fill out the Electorate Response Form indicating they are opposed to the City borrowing $4.25 million dollars for this ‘pig-in-a-poke’  project and give the city a strong message that it is not business as usual.

The Elector Response Forms can be picked up at city hall or downloaded from the city website http://www.city.kimberley.bc.ca/files/%7B43832C11-4842-4AF8-B68E-155968E9B2C8%7DElector%20Response%20Form%20for%20Mark%20Creek%20Flume.pdf

Greg McCormick,

Kimberley

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