LETTERS: Not up to taxpayers to foot the Downtown Penticton revitalization bill

Penticton Western News letters to the editor for the Oct. 22, 2014 issue.

Not up to taxpayers to foot the Downtown Penticton revitalization bill

Penticton taxpayers, you need to wake up and pay very close attention to the underhanded policies at city hall that will affect your pocket book.

Council and city staff propose to revitalize parts of the 100 block and the 200 block of Main Street. Council has estimated the costs of the revitalization at $2,065,000 of which only $255,000 of the costs will be paid by the property owners in the respective blocks.

A fairer allocation would be a 60 per cent allocation of the total costs to be allocated to the 100 and 200 block property owners or $1,240,000 and the balance to all property owners in the city.

By allocating grants and gas tax revenues to this project council can avoid a referendum or the alternate approval process to authorize the borrowing of funds. All taxpayers should participate in the benefits of the gas tax revenues and not just the downtown town core. Let the owners of the downtown core pay for the revitalization of the affected blocks of Main Street.

A referendum question should have been placed on the ballots in the upcoming November municipal election. Council knows that the Penticton voters would defeat the referendum and council has adopted sneaky measures to avoid going to the electorate to approve the borrowing funds.

Penticton taxpayers need to fully understand how reductions in development cost charges and economic investment zones will affect your pocket books in future years.

Council has already given away $345,000 in development cost charges up to Dec. 31, 2013.

At some point in the future Penticton residential taxpayers will be required to pay for 80 per cent of this $345,000 giveaway with the giveaway only to increase in future years and the bulk of the lost revenues will be paid by residential taxpayers.

The big kicker in the business giveaway program will be the economic investment zone giveaway to business owners that build improvements in the downtown core.

Any business property owner that modernizes or builds new improvements in the downtown core will be exempt from property taxes for periods of up to 10 years (20 years for a grocery store). Not only will the improvements be exempt from property taxes for 10 years but the existing land values that are subject to taxation today will also be exempt from property taxes for a period of 1 years.

How do you suppose that council will fund the lost property tax and development cost charge revenues?

You should already know the answer by now, your pocket book will pay increased property taxes for years to come to modernize the downtown core.

I believe apartment buildings will be exempt for a period of 10 years in the downtown core; I am not sure how the city proposes to tax owner-occupied residences in the downtown core.

Throw in the fact that council has provided water and sewer to Penticton Indian Band lands to allow for the construction of a shopping centre and 600 residential lots with no corresponding increase in the property value assessment base of the city that is used to calculate property taxes.

The PIB shopping centre will probably bankrupt some of the merchants in the downtown core.

Should council have bartered with the PIB on behalf of Penticton taxpayers for an annual contribution to our recreation and other facilities? You need to answer this question.

To all municipal candidates in the upcoming election, Penticton taxpayers need to know your views on the above concerns.

The above must be a parting gift to the Penticton residential taxpayers from resigning Mayor Garry Litke.

On behalf of all residential taxpayers, I would like to thank Mayor Litke for such a wonderful parting gift.

Ted Wiltse

Penticton

 

Picton means business

My name is Chris Davies and I am a long-term Okanagan resident. Having moved to Penticton at the age of five, I was fortunate enough to meet Max Picton at the age of seven, playing on the same hockey team.

Over the next 25 years of my life, our friendship continued, and I had the privilege to grow up with the heart of Penticton. I have watched Max grow as a natural leader in school and sports, to becoming a natural leader for the City of Penticton.

Like many of our friends, Max left Penticton for a few years after high school to try and find suitable employment. He got involved in marketing and promotions with various companies and after perfecting these skills, utilizing his natural gifts, Max came back to Penticton, along with many of his new business partners. He began hosting annual charity golf tournaments and starting up and getting involved with different businesses that are now staples in the downtown core of Penticton. Finally a few years back, Max set his eyes on his biggest venture to date, bringing us the Barefoot Beach Resort.

What a beautiful addition to the city that we all so dearly love. The Barefoot Beach Resort has brought Max the recognition he deserves, being featured in TV spots and magazines, landing him in the Top 40 Under 40 for the JCI, the chairman of the volunteer board for Tourism Penticton, as well as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2012. This guy is only 33 years old and is more involved and solely responsible for bringing more business into Penticton during the last five years than most of us will ever achieve in a lifetime.

I myself am now the program co-ordinator for the Okanagan Training and Development Council Society, and am responsible for running training and employment programs for First Nations from Vernon to Osoyoos.

It is with great excitement that I support my long-time friend in his campaign for city council, I know his results and vision will prove effective and he will bring immediate and lasting difference to the city that we all cherish and love.

It’s time or change Penticton. I support Max to become one of the building blocks towards new beginnings.

Chris Davies

Penticton

 

Thank you Village by the Station

To each of you who knew and cared for our mom, Betty Hornung, our family would like to say thank you. Even though thank you just doesn’t seem enough for all the amazing care you gave her over the last year.

From the RNs, LPNs, care aids, dietary aids, recreation and music to front desk reception, occupational therapists, chaplin, cleaning staff, maintenance and volunteers each of you showed so much love and compassion to mom. The level of care she received over this last year was exceptional. Mom felt so loved. She couldn’t have been in a better place. She would thank each of you and flash one of her big smiles, touch your arm and give you a big hug. She truly cared for each one of you.

We the family; Harvey Hornung, Morley Hornung, Art and Lynn Isted and her grand children and great grand children say, thank you so much.

Lynn Isted

Penticton

 

Cost of gas driving us crazy

Not to long ago a barrel of gas was $95 and at the pumps it was $1.35. Now it is $80 a barrel and was still $1.32 last week? Let’s all drive to the Lower Mainland and fill up.

B.Thoms

Penticton

 

The rise and fall of gas prices

The price of a barrel of oil went down to $80.  Prices in Abbotsford are as low as $1.09 per litre. Vancouver gas prices are from $1.23 to $1.27 per litre. Why are the Okanagan gas prices remaining so high? What is the excuse? The prices are still high because it rained more than once this week?

Prices in the valley are typically about seven cents lower than the coast, so we should be around $1.16 to $1.20 per litre.

I believe someone put forth a challenge to our then MP Dan Albas to look into price collusion in the Okanagan, but I guess it was a higher priority to get a bill passed for interprovincial wine sales for his rich circle of friends.

Someone in the valley is getting very, very rich.

Mark Billesberger

Penticton


Withdraw from national park talks

In the interests of real or perceived conflict of interest, now that Greg Norton’s application has resulted in his appointment as a commissioner on the Agricultural Land Commission I assume he will withdraw from further discussion about the proposed Okanagan Similkameen National Park.

Lee McFadyen

Cawston