The biggest infrastructure expense the city is facing are upgrades to the current wastewater treatment facility. Do you think a new wastewater treatment facility is worth putting the city $35 million in debt? Given that at some point the sewer system will need to be replaced what other solutions do you see
Debt is a reality during rapid growth or tough times. Certainly not the ideal case, but we borrow when we need to. That’s why borrowing exists. City borrowing is a completely different process than personal or business credit, and I have a lot to learn on the topic before I can comment more on that point.
People that live in Southside will tell you that we currently have a problem; stopping additional growth will not reduce the need to address our facility that is at capacity.
Water meters would help to provide insight on usage rates per home, allowing us to charge users appropriately, based on their impact on the system. With awareness comes opportunities for conservation; we can measure our efforts and set goals.
The high volume of travelers coming through our city are taxpayers, but not to our community’s core infrastructure. When grant funding refers to our official population of 6,719, it’s hard to explain why we have such heavy needs. The numbers we’ll soon receive from Telus Insights will help us gauge the impact of visitors on our systems, and give us some data to bring to senior levels of government as well as our own Tourism Infrastructure Committee.
On Funding and Bureaucracy
Grant funding is not always available for all the services we need, but can be found with creative thinking for specific projects. For example, the OCP has money to fund the process from a grant. We just need to decide how we’re going to accomplish this rather large project.
I will search with city staff for new angles to approach projects, seeking to find as much grant funding as possible in each department. I will ask the questions that dig for efficiencies and innovation in our services.
I would like to explore reward systems for our departments to encourage the seeking of grants and savings; instead of making shortsighted cuts to budgets that might not meet next year’s needs. This adds stress to city staff, and encourages departments to spend everything in case they lose that budget for next year.
Our staff want to do well, but they’re understaffed and feel unsupported. We’re a small community with a small team trying to handle a huge workload. We need to work smart, not hard, if we’re going to dig our way out of it. Rather than place blame on people just trying to do their job the best they can, let’s look for ways to help them do it better.