Referendum Set on Borrowing Plans
Prince George, B.C.- Council for the City of Prince George has set the wheels in motion for a referendum to be held this fall.
At issue, is the desire to borrow $35 million dollars to build a new Four Seasons Pool, and a further $15 million to build a new Fire Hall Number One.
Both loans would be spread over 20 years.
The annual debt servicing costs for the pool project would be about $2,352,550 while the annual debt servicing costs for the Fire Hall $1,008,236. Director of Finance Kris Dalio says servicing the debt would add about another $69 dollars to the annual tax bill for the average home owner. He says that amount would remain in place until the debt had been paid and then would be removed.
Councillor Brian Skakun wanted to know if the referendum could be put on hold until the municipal election in late 2018. But that would run the risk of having the costs for one or both of the projects increase by the time any construction could get underway.
Councillor Jillian Merrick applauded the referendum process saying she believes it’s good practice to separate questions like this from the politics of a municipal election.
The City is planning a detailed communications plan to explain the need for the changes.
“We’ve known since we were elected that we would be dealing with major infrastructure issues” said Mayor Hall “Here we are in year two and a half dealing with these issues. We need a fire hall, we need a four seasons pool we have a aging facilities, and somewhere along the line, we need to make decisions on how we’re going to process the repair on these if that is what we choose to do or replacement. I fully support the referendum on both locations.”
The referendum is set for October 28th 2017.
“…..amount would remain in place until the debt had been paid and then would be removed.”
Can we, once and for all, get a separate, easy to read, overview report of all these projects which are still ongoing, when they were initiated, how many years till they are paid off, the amount of principle as well as interest paid each year for each individual debt, as well as which ones are expected to be added on when others are paid off.
Clearly, the debt might be paid off in 20 years, we will have been able to enjoy the new facilities, and perhaps gain some savings due to reduced maintenance cost for a while, BUT, new ones will be added on.
At one time in the future, that process of perpetual catching up will peak at some steady state.
I think we should be told when that will be, given a projected change in the population, whether negative or positive.
As far as I know from looking at capital projects over the past, a portion of that information exists, but it needs to be presented in a much more understandable format for some, probably even the majority. We simply do not have the time to figure it out given the difficult access to the base information.
Once more, it is called transparency in government. It is our government and we need to know what is being done for us and to us.
Who is there on Council who can speak for us on that issue?
Good comment, gopg2015!
I suspect that we might never see the light of day, but it would be nice to have a glimmer of hope!
I think the information that you are looking for can be found on schedule 11 of the report in attached link. Better look tonight who knows where it will be buried when the new site is unveiled tomorrow;)
It shows that the city will retire about $2 million in debt over the next couple of years while adding $50 million for pool and fire hall. YIKES I don’t like that ratio.
On a positive note the Mulitplex and the Aquatic center are free and clear and none too soon as the building conditions report show the brick facade is falling off the aquatic center and the multiplex has major issues with stucco.
The Multiplex and Aquatic centre are free and clear, but the question is
**Are we still paying taxes to cover the cost of borrowing for these facilities, or has the tax been taken off**?
My guess is that the tax stayed on and the money flowed into general revenue and disappeared. If in fact we are still paying the taxes for these facilities could not the money being paid be transferred to pay for the new pool and fire hall, and avoid another tax increase.
I don’t remember my property taxes ever taking a dip
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