Reduce Debt and Spending
Candidate for Councillor, Division 5, Rocky View County
Reduce Debt and Spending
Rocky View's debt load has increased from $5 million in 2005 and after some payback has stuck at $60 million in for the last 8 years. Development levies that were intended to pay off this debt have not even been enough to pay the interest costs. County residents are ultimately responsible to pay off this debt if levies continue to fall short. Estimated costs for completion of the East Balzac waste water line have doubled from $90 million to $200 million. County spending has increased from $30 million in 2004 to $77 million in 2011. Staff has increased from from 167 to 266. In this time period of 1500% increase in debt, 250% increase in spending and 66% increase in staffing, the population of Rocky View has increased by only 15%.
Get out of Debt
John will seek to transfer the debt to the private sector or to other municipalities. The developers and commercial enterprises that are profiting from the development need to own the infrastructure they need rather than have all county residents pay for it. This "corporate welfare" does not benefit the County or the taxpayers.
Scale Back Rocky View Civic Campus
The huge increase in staff over the last few years has led to cramped quarters in the municipal building. This in turn has led Council to propose a multi million dollar 157 acre civic campus and administration center. The County has not provided estimates for the total cost of this facility. The estimated cost of the new EMS building on that site $3.5 million. Current plans for the site show 25 additional buildings so the county may be spending close $70 million to fully complete the campus.
Proof of Benefit
Developments must demonstrate both proof of need and of benefit to Rocky View County. The economic evaluations must include the revenue and costs of such developments. The economic models should also include risks such as oil price fluctuations, economic downturns and availability of water. Benefits and costs must also include the non-monetary effects on county residents.
Nearly all cost of servicing studies, including Rocky View's own, show residential areas cost more to service than they generate in taxes. Residential developments should be discouraged in the county and directed to existing urban municipalities.
Private Funding of Infrastructure
County taxpayers should not take on financial risk and indebtedness that only benefits land developers. Other models are available that would place all the risk of future development on the development industry rather than taxpayers.
Where possible, annexation of Rocky View land by other municipalities should be directed to existing commercial and developed areas so they can be serviced by urban infrastructure and existing water licenses.
Negotiate additional levies
Rocky View does not charge acreage assessment levies to fund local parks, fire stations, police stations, emergency services stations, libraries and recreation centers. Other local municipalities have negotiated payment of these additional levies with the development industry. Rocky View is a very desirable location so I am confident the development industry would be very willing to pay levies to fund these other amenities as they have in other communities. Development approvals should be postponed until Rocky View is confident all development costs will be recovered through both imposed and negotiated levies.
contact John at 403-935-2356 or email@example.com