Thursday, March 09, 2006

“Spending Out Of Control in Langley Township” - Reports Vancouver Province Newspaper

The Vancouver Province today screamed the headline “Spending Out Of Control in Langley Township”. It further quotes Councillor Kim Richter’s criticism of her fellow Mayor Alberts’ Council saying, “There doesn’t seem to be any upper limits on spending.”

Some of the recent questionable and controversial spending initiatives were the up to 20 year deferred ownership of the up front paid out $4 million Redwoods golf course purchase and the $5.2 million dollar Grandstand initially planned at $3 million.

The Province also quoted Mayor Kurt Alberts' contradictory statements comparing his recent November pre-election campaign quote that Township finances were in “great shape” with his newest post-election quote, only four months later, that there are “budgetary challenges” in Langley Township! The Mayor is quoted to be essentially blaming most of the financial constraints on the move to full time firefighters, yet he was fully aware of this move well before his election comments. Except for Councillor Richter the other majority of Councillors re-elected in November also campaigned on the finances being in "great shape".

The Township Mayor in the dying days just prior to the November 2005 election ran this very controversial attached advertisement (the page 2 of the ad attachment highlights additional comments from the Mayor and past Township tax increases) in a local Langley newspaper. The Mayor's Ad endorsed all the incumbent Councillors except sitting Councillor Kim Richter. Of the incumbent Councillors, she was the only one campaigning on the fact that Township spending was out of control. However all of the incumbent Councillors were re-elected. The ad was deemed controversial as many thought it gave credence to the impression that a Mayor's slate existed. It was also controversial because one of the citizens named in the ad on the Mayor's advisory panel said that he knew nothing about any advisory panel when shown the ad and that no advisory panel meetings had ever occurred. On the very next day he completely reversed his comments saying it was a misunderstanding.

While Langley’s much smaller neighbour, Langley City, proudly announced that they will only increase their property taxes 5% in total over the next three years, Langley Township will raise property taxes three times more than the City to 15% (not compounded), over the same three year period. With the compounding effect, if Township can realistically hold increases to exactly 5% tax increases annually in all 3 years, this would in essence increase the average property owner’s taxes much closer to 16% rather than 15%!

This does not include GVRD and Translink tax hikes to property owners in Langley Township. Richter quoted in the Province says” I feel worried about my tax bill in June. I think everybody is.”

LFP gives kudos to the Province Newspaper for outing the financial predicament that Richter has been ringing alarm bells on for years. Other than only one local newspaper in Langley the other paper has been seemingly critical of Councillor Richter’s financial concerns and predictions and critical of her assessment of the concerns.

Kudos to Councillor Jordan Bateman who we understand has put forward a motion asking staff to cut the $350,000.00 annual advertising costs in the local papers which were detailed in this linked Report.

This Vancouver Province article is not only an indictment of this Council’s horrific spend, tax and borrow practices but it is more so an indictment of the local media that has seemingly almost refused to report or editorialize properly in our opinion on this glaring financial debacle in Langley Township. LFP has to ask the real question, when is the public in Langley going to see changes in the local media? Do you see any biases in the local newspaper?

Councillor Kim Richter is also one of LFP’s contributing columnists and you can also view some of her concerns further elaborated on and published herein on her archives page link here.

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