Referendum … 08983.html

I am totally ignorant here, so hopefully somebody can help me out.

I am not sure of my calculations (the TD mortgage calculator wouldn’t allow more than 7M) but at 3% over 25 years I think it would cost around $1.2M per year to build the combined buildings.

I caught a news story that said that according to some poll northerners were upset at the cost of municipal finances/taxation. (I was in the car at the time so can’t vouch for the details.)

I think Rupertites would agree with that poll. So how can we afford a 12% increase for however many years it would take to pay off that loan. I am assuming that the 12% increase will remain for several years. This is not a one year emergency where our taxes can be reduced the following year. We need to find an extra million every year for 25 years.

In the case of the police station it looks like we have no option as the article says that the RCMP could go ahead and build a new building and the city would be billed.

How do other small communities deal with this issue. It seems ridiculous in a time of declining population and high unemployment that a city would be expected to shell out this amount of money.

I am not suggesting that we vote no. If we are to have proper police and fire services then upgrading seems prudent. It’s just shocking to me that something as important as police and fire are not federal or provincial issues where poorer communities are not underserviced or put into financial distress because upgrades in those services are required.

And now we get this. … le2182561/

Would a provincial police force expect a small community to pay for the building?

I am still lost. The province or the feds help pay for buildings e.g. schools, hospitals, post offices, etc. Why is a small community expected to pay for police stations?

In honour of Ask a Stupid Question Day, I am bumping this topic. I would like to know more about what this all means.

Well,first off,I would STRONGLY recommend that every one vote NO!!!Half the population,what the hell do they all do?Cop shop looks like a used car lot most times,oh I forgot,they need all for giving traffic tickets,seat belts etc…also we already have the most expensive fire dept in the province.Pull up your socks and suck it up.

Hey at least they’re having a referendum. I hear some on Council (and the Mayor?) didn’t want to have one.

Sounds like the way they bought the cable company without asking anyone.

If they start that method of getting what they want I’ll be first in line to oppose them, and this time I won’t be collecting signatures for just a week. I am totally opposed to this end-run approval system whether or not I agree with the substance.

[quote=“zerocool”]Hey at least they’re having a referendum. I hear some on Council (and the Mayor?) didn’t want to have one.

Sounds like the way they bought the cable company without asking anyone.[/quote]

Yes, the mayor floated the idea of an ‘alternate approval process’ (ie opponents collect enough signatures or the spending proceeds). My recollection is that while the councillors were not exactly aghast they were somewhat taken aback by the mayor’s preference for a less democratic process. They seemed to quietly over-rule him with the outcome being that there now will be a referendum. … ctOffered/

The last paragraph:

How can we reconcile spending 12.3M on giving the police the necessary tools to do the job and ensuring fairness for the Canadian taxpayer- and the Canadian taxpayer in this case is the taxpayers in Prince Rupert.

And we have this. … _Election/

Rupert is not alone in worrying about municipal spending.

Rereading the NorthernView article, it sounds like the firehall and the police station need upgrading but what is the consequence of saying no. What risks occur if we decide not to borrow the 21M. Are we in danger of losing property and life to fire. Are we in danger of less policing on the streets to protect us?

At the same time, if the city received a windfall of 21M, what would be the first things that city departments and the taxpayers would say that money should be spent on. Would the police station and firehall be at the top of the list or would roads and parks and sewer upgrades and improvements to other city property take precedence? If we are going into debt for 21M what do we really want done?

And it still bugs me that we are expected to pay for the police station. I know I am missing something here, but shouldn’t a federal service be expected to upgrade its own building.

I know I sound like I am leaning no at this point. What I really need is more information that can help me make a more informed decision.

Bigger question: Which would you rather have? A city that runs a cable and phone company, or a city that runs a fire and police department?

Which business should a city be in? Fire and public safety, or cable and telephone? Answer that question and you’ll have the answer to funding the new building.

[quote=“Smurfette”]Bigger question: Which would you rather have? A city that runs a cable and phone company, or a city that runs a fire and police department?

Which business should a city be in? Fire and public safety, or cable and telephone? Answer that question and you’ll have the answer to funding the new building.[/quote]

Not sure if that helps me. Of course, fire and police come ahead of a phone company. There is good argument for selling the phone company and if that were the question then I vote to sell the phone company. If we vote no in the referendum and the city has to find alternate money then maybe their hand is forced. Is that what you are saying. Vote no and then they will be forced to sell the phone company.

I am not afraid of spending 21M. I just want to know if the 21M is better spent on new buildings or on a whole bunch of other things that the city needs.

Not really. As a federal force the RCMP has the authority to enforce federal laws (mostly the Criminal Code) anywhere in the country, but they are only responsible for policing federal lands. The administration of justice is otherwise a provincial responsibility under the constitution.

The BC Police Act (section 3) requires the province to have a ‘provincial police force’ to police all unincorporated areas in the province and municipalities with less than 5000 people. The province has contracted with the RCMP to be that ‘provincial police force’. The RCMP is only a contractor. BC is free to establish its’ own force, which it used to have and some are talking about, and as some other provinces have.

Municipalities like this one with more than 5000 people are required to police their jurisdictions and contribute to the cost. They can set up a municipal police force, as some cities have, or they can contract with the province to have the provincial police force, ie the RCMP, be the municipal police force. That’s why the city is on the hook for the cost of facilities.

The details of the agreements between the province, the city and the RCMP are complicated, but if the city does not provide adequate facilities the RCMP can pay for upgrades (not necessarily a new building) and send the city a bill, which they must pay.

This police station has seen better days and the jail is reportedly below current standards. Other small cities seem to have better facilities. But then we would rather invest capital in a telecom that many complain about and in subsidizing an airport ferry so that some people do not have to pay as much to get out of town on vacations and such.

That being said, there are legitimate questions about how much we should be paying for better police and lockup faciltities, and whether fire and other emergency services should be rolled in is another question again. I don’t think that there should be a blank cheque for these expenditures. Hopefully the mayor will emerge from his bunker and present some options to consider in advance of the referendum so that voters are better informed.


Sell off the telecom while it’s still worth something and invest in some much needed infrastructure and perhaps there would be less need for this city to have the highest taxes in the province.

Thanks for the information on policing. It still bugs me though. I know if the money were coming out of provincial or federal coffers it is still coming out of our pockets. However, small communities would never be stung with such a huge one time hit on their budget if all the costs associated with the 2,3,4 police stations that needed upgrading each year were spread among the entire province.

As for the phone company. I read this argument by a Liberal who was supporting the sale of BCRail. (We won`t get into the optics of the broken promise, legislature raids, Basi-Virk payout - oops just did). The argument was this. If BCRail were to go on sale right now, would we want the province to buy it.

So for Prince Rupert, if we did not already own CityWest, would we consider buying it. Is the money that it is generating for the city worth the interest we would be paying on the loans for borrowing money that we wouldn■t need to borrow if we had the cash from the sale of CityWest. (And that is assuming that it will continue to maintain its current value).

I don■t know the answer to those questions. I have no idea how much CityWest would bring the city if it were sold.

And I also don■t know if the city is still shelling out $100,000 a month for Watson Island. That is the equivalent of the loan payments that we would need to pay for the new buildings.

I am not trying to argue a particular point of view. I am admitting ignorance. But the information is needed.

Does CityWest actually generate any money for the city at all?

Does CityWest actually generate any money for the city at all?[/quote]

Citywest pays the city a $1 million dividend about every second year. According to the 2010 financials, the company has a non-interest bearing note payable to the city of $22,732,991 and owes the city another $719,595 for a total of $23.4 million. There may be other value in the business if it was sold off.

Equivalent to half a million a year in dividends is not a very good return, about 2%. I would not be surprised if the interest on the debt to build a new police station and fire hall would be higher than that.

It doesn’t look like it. It also doesn’t look like keeping so much money tied up in Citywest is worth the 12.56% tax hike that the mayor would like to leave as his legacy.

Considering how much the mayor talked about his financial acumen before the last election and his plan to sell off assets (but not to the sacred cow) to deal with infrastructure problems he really has failed to come to terms with the issues over the past three years. Raising taxes is treated as the only option, but it’s not.

So we build new digs for cops and fire,is it going to be the misfit that the current police building is or do we get a say,I think NOT!!!The same as buying a ladder truck that they joy ride in…when it could have been used at the Mcmillan fire,guess where it was…down south for a re-fit even though it had never been used…sell the truck!I say suck it up to both police and fire.

More food for thought. How much of a “write down” in value did Citywest take thanks to the whole “we asked around and don’t think anybody wants digital mobile services” fiasco? I’ll bet that’s in the same neighborhood as the cost of the new building.

So we have this huge asset, Citywest, that can lose value overnight, as has been demonstrated with the mobile division. Should the city keep gambling that Citywest doesn’t have another “we asked around and nobody wants it” moment?

I’m sure it does, but at what risk? Its a really good question that should be asked. After all, if Citywest is allowed to gamble in the free market against Rogers, Bell, and Telus, then why doesn’t the city buy a restaurant? Or a gas station? Or some other business that can be profitable? A city-owned KFC would be a gold mine!

Is that something the city should be doing? If not, then why is it ok for it to buy a cable company?