To the Editor:
The problem of paying for policing did not just happen. It was allowed to be brought on by the present and previous town councils for the past 10 years for lack of foresight in town planning and management. With the present council in its second term, it appears as if they decide as to how the taxpayers will pay for their mistakes rather than how to get rid of the problem with alternative solutions.
Now again, without foresight in these lean economic times, our council allowed the issue of a building permit to a multi-corporate to build a one-stop-and-shop tourist destination, a Ramada Inn with a restaurant, plus a strip mall with four rental spaces for retail outlets such as a ladies boutique, a jewelry store, perhaps a sporting goods store and maybe a scaled down casino. The location for these businesses is ideal with the inn’s patrons arriving in their BMWs and Mercedes SUVs with holiday money to spend.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Ramada Inn gave a year’s free rent to these businesses to help them get established. And why not? It got five years free rent from town council. This is not creating growth. This is creating a funeral for Creston’s downtown core. And how does the council get off at being so generous with our tax dollars by paying the fire chief $104,000 per year? It’s not as if he was blessed by the pope and unexpendable. This salary seems a little extravagant for a small town, to say the least.
For town hall to burden the Creston taxpayers with another increase for any reason at all is not acceptable. Does town council think we are going to act like a flock of sleeping sheep again on this one? I don’t think so. People are starting to pay attention to the overstaffed town hall in that it has enough personnel in it to govern a territory a quarter of the size of B.C. Already, there is talk of a tax revolt with people holding back on their property tax payments in protest of a tax increase.
Overstaffing in town hall should and could be reduced by 50 per cent. The remaining 50 per cent can double up on the duties. Five of the town crew could be eliminated and have a 32-hour week two weeks out of every month of the summer season. These combined efforts would create a savings of approximately a half-million dollars per year to the Creston taxpayers. Then, if necessary, the swimming pool and adjoining facilities could be shut down by the Regional District of Central Kootenay during the winter months to save costs for policing as opposed to increasing our taxes.
It is in my opinion these changes are necessary to alleviate the policing costs and to produce a budget that will save the town. The town hall employees aren’t on some kind of make work project subsidized by taxpayers. The council has to be held accountable on all the above issues mentioned.
If council is unable to come up with any innovative ideas of their own to alleviate costs for the policing and still chooses to abuse the Creston taxpayers with a tax increase instead of executing the appropriate necessary cuts with staff and town crew, then I suggest council set a date for a by-election and prepare to resign.