There are now some dollars and cents attached to the tax implications of a complete renovation of the pool at the Quesnel Rec Centre.
Jeff Norburn, the Director of Community Services with the City, provided those details at Tuesday (Dec 13) night’s North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee meeting.
“The full renovation of the pool with a water slide would result in an estimated increase in the residential tax rate of $85 per 100 thousand dollars of assessed land and improvements over the 2023 rate. This estimate assumes borrowing of 35 million dollars over a 25 year term at current interest rates. It also assumes an increase to the operating budget of 300 thousand dollars a year.”
Although the Committee is going with the above option, Norburn also provided financial details for a full renovation of the pool without the water slide.
“It would result in an estimated increase in the residential tax rate of $77 per 100 thousand dollars of assessed land and improvements over the 2023 rate. This estimate assumes borrowing of 31 million dollars over a 25 year term at current interest rates. It also assumes an increase in the operating budget of 200 thousand dollars a year, less because the water slide requires extra staffing.”
There was some concern over the increased costs at the table.
Councillor Mitch Vik noted the even bigger impact on business and industry.
“In this case the factoring for commercial is 2.45 times the per 100 thousand dollar amount which would translate into $208.25 per 100 thousand for our commercial partners in our communities. For industrial 85 dollars per 100 thousand actually turns into 289 dollars.”
Despite calling the numbers staggering, Vik was in favour of going to referendum and letting the people speak.
There was some talk about doing more consultation before deciding whether or not to go to referendum.
City Manager Byron Johnson talked about the risk of doing that.
“We know that construction inflation right now is ticking along between 10 to 12 percent. So for a project of this nature that’s 3 to 4 million dollars per year of inflation. So I think you want to do the extra consultation through a bit of an expedited process. We’ve already talked to the public about what this project looks like. The pricing information is information they haven’t seen, but they’ve seen about the project itself. There has been lots of consultation on that. So if we need to do extra consultation and that’s the will of this group, lets figure out how to expedite it so it doesn’t turn into a whole other year of inflation.”
In the end, the Committee voted in favour of going to referendum with those numbers in either June or September.
The date will be decided by the Chief Election Officer.
The vote was not unanimous however.
Councillor Deb McKelvie and CRD Directors Mary Sjostrom and Jim Glassford were opposed.
Glassford said it was over and above what he expected.
“For me with the water slide and everything it’s simply too high. I don’t expect it to make any headway with the public. We went to the public without a water slide for 21 million or whatever it was, we lost that referendum. So if everything went exactly the same and we had more people vote, we would have to overcome 60 votes before we even break even. So for me it’s a 30 thousand dollar bill, if that’s what the referendum costs, it’s going to be up in smoke.”
The Committee voted in favour of spending up to 50 thousand dollars on the referendum and a public education campaign prior to the vote.