60 Fourth Ave
Township of Hornepayne
March 29, 2011
Dear Mayor and Council,
I have some questions to help clarity the need for the potential increase in our water bills and property taxes.
Regarding the water project:
1. What was the original quote for the entire water project compared to the current actual costs?
2. What exactly has contributed to these extra costs? Why were these extra costs not known and accounted for in the original quote?
3. Did the municipality have monies set aside for this project before hand? And how much Provincial and Federal assistance did we receive? What is the exact amount that needs to be recovered through the tax payer?
4. How much debt has this project incurred, and how long are you planning on taking to pay that debt off?
5. Before any construction took place, what did the tax payer pay annually for water? What will be the final annual price (assuming this will be our last increase)?
6. Will this be our last increase? Are there any reasons to believe that this project will incur more debt?
7. Why do some of the figures surrounding the project seem so mysterious? Why are they unknown? Why do we have to wait for OCWA’s auditor’s report before we can know if there will be an increase? What additional information does that report contain that the Town Treasures does not currently have? Are the costs of the project in the Township books or in OCWA’s? I can understand operating costs are governed under OCWA, but is there not a budget that they are required to adhere to? And if they have a need to go outside of the budget shouldn’t Council be made aware of that first? Maybe a clarification of the partnership between the Township and OCWA will help me to understand.
8. Was the contractor hired by OCWA or by the Township? Who paid their bills, OCWA or the Township? What was the partnership/relationship between the three? Again, just trying to understand why the Township does not know all the figures involved in the project.
Regarding the potential tax increase:
At the meeting that was held in the gym last spring (2010) regarding the Northstar Center, the Mayor at the time stated that the costs to run the municipal services in the building were equal to the taxes they received from the building. I was under the impression that when the building closed it would all equal out.
1. What was the annual revenue that was collected by the Township from the Northstar?
2. What were the total operating costs for all the services that were in that building?
3. What are the current operating costs of the services that remain?
4. It was stated at Monday’s meeting that $300,000.00 needs to be annually recovered through the tax payer because of the Mall closure. What exactly contributes to this amount?
5. What does the HEDC (apartment building) and CN (new bunkhouse) pay for taxes? Are these figures included in the 300,000.00 or not? If not, will the figure be adjusted before an increase is decided upon?
6. When will we know your decision regarding the tax increase? What information needs to be obtained before the decision can be made and what’s the time line of obtaining it?
As you know, it’s my heart’s desire that Hornepayne rise up and re-build the “New Hornepayne”. The vision that I have is not just physical re-building. I would like to see new relationships and partnerships; new systems and new ways of thinking; new recreation ideas and new reasons to come together and celebrate. I believe the first step is to understand the systems that are currently in place, and that’s the reason for this letter. I’m trying to understand the relationships involved, what’s happened up until this point, and where we’re going from here.
This letter will be posted on my blog (http://bevallen4hornepayne.blogspot.com/), and I would appreciate your answer to this letter emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org because I would like to copy and paste your answers into the blog. Please also send a hard copy for accountability sake; electronic documents can be altered and I wouldn’t want anyone to question the authenticity of what’s posted on the blog. If it only comes on paper I will type it out. Please feel welcome to visit the blog and participate in the conversations. Again, the goal in asking these questions is to gain a greater understanding and to bring clarity.
Your communication to me and through me is much appreciated.