Thursday, January 26, 2006

Richter Report - January 26, 2006

And the budget numbers just keep on ballooning....

At the Township Budget Meeting held on January 16, 2006, Council was presented with a list of “General Major Capital Requests” (p.10; Slide 19). Included in this list was a $9.0 Million expenditure proposed for 2007 to expand the WC Blair Pool.

This was very interesting since the 2005-2014 10-year plan (approved by Council in Spring 2005) only included a $1.25 Million improvement to the Blair facility. So why the increase (in less than one year) from $1.25 Million to $9.0 Million? Have construction costs gone up that much? If they have, then we really should be putting a moratorium on new facility development until after the 2010 Olympics. Besides which, just how much bigger a Blair Pool does the Township need – especially when the growth in the Township is in Willoughby, not Murrayville?

From my perspective, if we need a pool expansion right now, it’s not in Murrayville – it’s in Aldergrove. And, if we need a whole new pool facility, it’s also not in Murrayville – it’s in Willoughby (based on population growth).

So just to keep the financial record straight, let’s remember that in the last year, the Township has:

i) Opened a new Township Hall;
ii) Added a new Library, Fitness facility and Community Police Office;
iii) Bought a golf course;
iv) Covered a $250,000 budget overrun on a field house;
v) Approved a $2+ million animal shelter; and
vi) Is building a $5.2 Million Grandstand.

Given all of these major capital expenditures (and this does NOT include roads or sewer or water improvements), does the Township really need a bigger Blair Pool in 2007?

By the way, the proposed new $35.6 Million of debt (to be incurred from 2006 to 2008) that I referenced in my last report does NOT include planned DCC debt. It is also over and above the proposed 20.35% increase in property taxes during the same period.

Do you still think we’ll be able to afford to live in Langley?

Kim Richter

Kim Richter is in her 3rd term as Langley Township Councillor and also is a Professor of Business at Kwantlen University College. She holds a masters degree in health administration and was a health care management consultant.

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