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Referendum proposes borrowing maximum of $4.5 million

A borrowing referendum for a new fire hall that will go to before Creston voters on October 20.

A borrowing referendum for a new fire hall that will go to before Creston voters on October 20 shows a lower hit to Creston taxpayers than the defeated 2017 referendum.

Based on a size recommendation of 14,000 square feet by the Advisory Select Committee and an estimated $350 per square foot maximum cost (including site development and contingency funds) the total project estimate is $5.5 million.

Different in this referendum is that the Town of Creston will use $1 million in reserve funds, and now has a service contract with the RDCK (primarily Erickson) that will contribute 28.1 per cent of the project or $1.55 million.

The total Town of Creston share of the $4.5 million maximum borrowing is $2.95 million, finance director Steffan Klassen told Town Council at the July 17 regular meeting.

Council approved the referendum plan, though Couns. Kevin Boehmer voted against it, objecting to the maximum 30-year borrowing term.

“I just think 30 years is too long,” he said. “I prefer a 20-year term.”

In fact, voters will be providing the Council elected on October 20 an option to choose a term of not more than 30 years, and it option for Boehmer’s 20-year preference.

A mailout sent to Creston residents last week shows that the maximum borrowing would cost $22.60 per $100,00 of assessed value. A house and property valued at $300,000 would result in a property tax increase of under $70 annually. The figure is based on a 30-year borrowing term at 3.9 per cent. A 20-year borrowing term would increase the figure to about $86 annually.

“It is important to remember that grants can reduce that cost and result in a lower cost to taxpayers,” Mayor Ron Toyota said on Monday.

A borrowing referendum must state the maximum borrowing amount required to complete a public project.

In other Town Council news:

• A zoning amendment bylaw to temporarily prohibit the sale of cannabis received a 3rd reading and was adopted. New bylaws will be ready for the October 17th national legalization of cannabis date.

• A request for a grant by Nelson History Theatre was received for information.

• Council passed a communications plan for the upcoming fire hall financing referendum, with Couns. Boehmer stating his opposition because he felt the four-page mailer looked too busy and repetitious.