A City Council that works for everyone… not just a few.
The City of White Rock receives monies from property taxes, levies, grants, fees, permits, financial investments, Community Amenity Contributions (CACs), and Development Cost Charges (DCCs).
Section 482 of the Local Government Act allows municipalities to increase allowable densities in exchange for providing community amenities. CACs are negotiated as part of the rezoning process. CACs may be used for the provision of amenities, affordable housing and/or financial contributions towards amenities, and may also be taken in cash.
DCCs allow municipalities to pay a portion of off-site infrastructure required to service new growth and are governed by the Local Government Act. DCCs can be waived or reduced in order to support non-profit rental housing.
The City routinely ignores sound business project management principles and seldom creates business cases, seldom performs risk assessments, and seldom performs cost benefit analyses on projects (e.g., parkade, which will be operating at a loss).
The City routinely decides at secret meetings closed to the Public what projects they’d like to see (such as paving over East Beach, Memorial Park “upgrade”, construction of parkade, expansion of promenade to Coldicutt Ravine, funicular, construction of restaurant on pier, expansion of marina) before determining the source of revenue (lately,CACs from proposed high density development projects). The City then borrows from reserves in order to pay for these projects on the assumption that CACs will be forthcoming, thus becoming dependent on CACs and dictating the pre-determined approval of these projects before any Public process. This creates the perception that up-zoning is readilyfor sale in the City of White Rock.
The City’s infrastructure is aging and failing while the City funds projects intended to increase density and aid businesses’ interests by bringing more tourism to White Rock.
Memorial Park “upgrade” was originally budgeted for $1.5 million and is now at $5.5 million. The four-storey parkade was originally budgeted for $9 million and is now at $12 million.
Under this current Council, elected in November of 2014, the City’s debt has exponentially exploded from $128,089 as of December 31, 2014 to $20,573,276 as of December 31, 2016 and is today estimated to be some $28,7000,000.
This Council unilaterally decided to borrow millions of dollars to purchase the water utility in 2015, resulting in increased purchase costs due to interest and carrying charges. However, as of December 31, 2015, White Rock had reserves of over $43.9 million. There was no need to borrow money to buy the water utility.
White Rock’s reserves have ballooned from $38.04 million as of December 31, 2014 to over $49.7 million as of December 31, 2016.
The City paid $13.65 million in salaries, wages and benefits to elected officials and employees in 2015. In 2016, White Rock paid $14.68 million in salaries, wages and benefits to elected officials and employees. Additionally, over $400,000 that we know of has been paid in severance.
Suppliers of goods and services to the City have also benefited from this Council’s lack of expense control measures. White Rock paid a total of $21.57 million to outside goods and services providers and to grant recipients for 2015, not including the extraordinary one time payment “in trust” to a law firm of $13.93 million for the water utility.
At the end of 2016, the total paid to outside service providers and to grant recipients reached a total of $28.76 million (source is the City’s Statements of Financial Information found in the Documents Library on the City’s web site.)
Democracy Direct White Rock objectives:
Embrace fiscal transparency and promote fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.
Eliminate the creation of unnecessary surpluses that are the result of budgeting high and spending low.
Use Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) for the betterment of the residents of White Rock, not special interest groups.
Hold the line on tax increase and work to lower taxes and improve services.
Practice good business sense by ensuring that valid business cases, risk assessments, and cost benefit analyses are carried out before spending the Public’s money.
Reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending by instituting zero-based budgeting (budgets are started from a zero-base with an evaluation of each line item every year).
Openly publish an inventory and account for all reserves and borrowing.