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Quesnel Council Says There Are Only Two Options To Pay For A New Public Works Facility

Quesnel City Council has now directed staff to bring forward a borrowing bylaw and specific referendum question for a new public works building.

Taxpayers will vote in October on whether or not to borrow up to 8 1/2 million dollars for a new building on Sword Road.

Council went over two options from it’s perspective last night, either borrow the money and build a 10.87 million dollar project in 2020 or save 10 years for a 13.77 million dollar project in 2028.

Most, including Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, will be lobbying pretty hard for the first option…

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“If we look at trying to save for the facility in 2028. You know 1.135 million dollars a year, a 7.5 percent tax increase, so when you look at the other considerations that we have in our budget, the other asks and other pressures that are put on our budget, that is in itself one of those points that people should be paying attention to.”

That compares to a tax increase of 3.2 percent if they borrowed the money over 30 years or around 3.5 percent to borrow the money over a 25 year period.

Roodenburg went on to say that the overall cost of the project would also be almost 3 million dollars higher if they saved for 10 years.

Most of the buildings in the current Public Works facility were built back in the 1940’s and it is located in a flood plain.

Mayor Bob Simpson noted that taxpayers would have saved a lot of money if a new facility was built by previous Councils….

“The flood of 1972 that they had up there. If you can imagine if the Council of the day had said that’s not the greatest place to have a public works and moved it at that time. Think about the savings to the future taxpayers on that. And in 2001, when the Council of the day started saving, that’s 16 years ago. If they had done it then it would not have been as big a hit, and then of course the Council of 2013 purchased the land for this but didn’t go to referendum in 2014 to get the job done, so every time we just keep delaying it, you’re in a more untenable position.”

The current Council tried to borrow the money for a new public works facility back in 2016 but an Alternate Approval process to get the permission of taxpayers failed with 10.75 percent of eligible voters against the project.

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