Residents of Coldstream will pay the price if an upcoming referendum is not successful, says John Hegler.
The outspoken Coldstream resident is raising issue with the borrowing referendum Nov. 19, where voters will be asked to borrow $1.35 million.
The money is needed to construct a new mechanics shop and upgrade the public works yard. But approval to borrow the funds is needed from the electorate.
Hegler has concerns that the district will go ahead with the project, whether citizens vote in favour or not. In fact, a staff report states that if the referendum is unsuccessful, higher taxes will be necessary to facilitate the costs.
The July 4, 2011 report, by the district’s director of financial administration, Trevor Seibel, states: “…a successful outcome to the referendum will mean a tax increase of approximately 2.67 per cent while an unsuccessful outcome will mean a tax increase of approximately 7.97 per cent.”
“In my opinion this decision is not only arrogant, it makes a mockery out of democracy,” said Hegler.
Meanwhile Coun. Maria Besso has stated in other media reports that the district can’t just do the work and then raise taxes to cover it.
Coun. Gyula Kiss has also said that he will not vote to borrow funds if the public votes down a referendum.
But whether the referendum is successful or not, the issue of upgrades still remains.
“If we are not approved (for) the borrowing we will have to start fixing the most important things with available funds,” said Kiss.
Coun. Bill Firman adds: “There is an issue back there that has to do with contamination and it has to be addressed.”
One potential contamination point is from an old oil tank in the ground.
“At this time it is holding but we’re trying to be pro-active and deal with it,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, adding that there are also security issues at the works yard.
A referendum open house is anticipated to take place in October.