This is the first of several articles in the latest (March) issue of the Mud Creek News. The Town is crying poor but as Mr. Daniels points out it always seems to have money for the projects “it” likes.
COUNCIL SQUANDERS MONEY; WILL IT NOW FRET HOW TO PAY FOR WORTHWHILE PROJECTS?
David A. Daniels
At the February 15th Council meeting, the budget for Valley Waste-Resource Management Authority was discussed. Deputy Mayor Hugh Simpson wondered whether the Town could afford to contribute money toward the $100,000.00 capital reserve the Authority included in its budget. (The Authority initially requested more.)
During upcoming budget deliberations will this be a constant refrain: Can we really afford the amount requested for this or that worthwhile project?
Perhaps the real question is: what was Council thinking (or not thinking) when it approved the Town Centre project for over $100,000.00 or the Central Avenue project for over $300,000.00 or approved the transfer of the the Clock Park property to the Town triggering the spending of $125,000.00 in the Town’s capital reserve for landscaping the park. (Councilors Laceby and Irving voted against the acquisition of the Clock Park property.)
The Council at its retreat in November 2009 came up with a (common sense) list of core or mandated and secondary services.
The “core” or “mandated” services: community development [planning], policing, solid waste, fire, transportation, education, libraries, housing and corrections.
“Secondary services”: recreation services, grant programs, culture, business development, parks, visitor information services/tourist bureau, marketing and promotions, and festival and events.
Solid waste disposal is a mandated service. Where does the construction of concrete planters and special (expensive) paving stones on Central Avenue fall within the “services” the Town needs to provide? Certainly not core or mandated.
Council will soon be making decisions about funding worthwhile recreational and cultural/community projects. Dollars will be scarce. Some projects may get no funding; others may not get what they requested. The Council will have to pinch pennies and make hard choices.
Will the Mayor or Deputy Mayor write to the applicants seeking money or the parents of children who participate in the Town’s recreational programs and explain: They are sorry, but the Town could not fully fund or fund at all your project or recreation activity, because there was not enough money. In order to build a better Wolfville, the Town had to spend taxpayers dollars on nice concrete planters and pretty paving stones and on a 14th park, since 13 parks and open spaces in the Town were not enough.