Taxpayers pay dearly

Dear Editor

It’s little wonder the property owners of North Battleford are facing another tax hike.

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After reading the frontpage article in the News-Optimist, it becomes clear those responsible for the budget of the city have, to put it nicely, totally missed the mark on some items.

Last year they budgeted $1,200,000 in projected land sales revenue and in fact they were only able to sell $100,000 of said land, this little mistake cost them and by extension you the taxpayers $1,100,000.

And let’s continue, how much would you say a culvert installation might cost? Well let’s make a guess. Would you believe that it would cost $150,000? No way, you might say, that’s a huge amount for one culvert. But, wait, in all fairness it did need to go under a street (Battleford Road) and guess what the actual cost came in at. Would you believe $251,006? That’s about 60 per cent more than they budgeted for. City Manager Randy Patrick called it unfortunate and blamed it on a tendering mistake, a mistake the taxpayer is now expected to pay for.

It now appears that the city is considering a purchase of a property from CN Rail, a historic building they would have you believe.

It’s just an ordinary brick building, but, hey, it can be had for just one dollar. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, we all know what that means, the one dollar is just for the so-called historic building which by their own admission has been neglected to the point that CN are considering demolishing it.

So let’s get back to that one dollar purchase price. If you read on in the article, the city has allotted a further $200,000 of your tax dollars for the purchase and architectural design of this building. So now we are at $200,000 and we still have a building that according to the present owner is ready for demo. But, wait, it gets better. The city is allocating a further $600,000 of your taxpayer money between 2020 and 2022 for renovations. So all added up without any surprises it looks like that one dollar building will cost the taxpayer over $800,000. I realize the city has not made a final decision on this project, but based on past performance one can only cringe.

Is there no accountability? These people made over a million dollars in poor financial decisions on just two line items in last year’s budget with no recourse and the taxpayer is left holding the bag for their screw-ups.

It is little wonder the taxes in this city get higher every year. It won’t be long before potential homebuyers and businesses will be looking elsewhere to locate.

Gary McLeod

North Battleford

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