Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: City council bears the brunt of previous council mistakes

Response to a letter from the former mayor of the City of Penticton

In response to Jake Kimberley’s letter in the (Western News, Dec. 8, Reality check on city budget).

You are right Jake when you say that the firing of city staff cost the city millions of dollars. The problem was the replacement with inexperienced personnel that took us down a road of no return resulting in debacles like the hockey dorm and Trio contract.

You are wrong when you blame the 2009 council for zero-based budgeting and claim that is the cause of the financial fix we find ourselves in today.

Zero-based budgeting starts from a “zero base” and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and costs. Previously staff automatically added a percentage to each budget each year to account for inflation and things that were added to the budget. So taxpayers were guaranteed increases every year to cover in many cases waste that should have been and never was eliminated. Your spin does no one any favours.

I agree with you about the property tax exemptions. You don’t put in property tax exemptions when there is a building boom going on throughout the Okanagan Valley. You cash in; the time to use exemptions (if they are ever used) would be when builders aren’t building; not when the market is strong.

The high-profile position that you took on Skaha Park has likely gained you some notice. However, we lost our 50-year development plan for Skaha Park during your last term as mayor. Remember? You refused to purchase a house that came up for sale in the park claiming we couldn’t afford it. This effectively ended the 50-year plan of park expansion and opened up the way for subsequent councils to think it was open season on our park.

You say: “The reality check is that the budget cuts councils have made since 2009 will never ever allow the city to catch up with the city’s infrastructure “

It is much more likely the desperation of subsequent councils after you to cut costs was to make up for your mistake when you ran the building of the South Okanagan Events Centre about $25 million over budget. They have been trying to recover those costs every since. You were very unfair to subsequent councils Jake and they have had to bear the brunt of your mistakes ever since.

Just tell it like it is Jake.

Elvena Slump

Penticton

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