Taxpayers should not wait for increase before requesting review of town fi nances

The following appeared in the Red Deer Advocate recently.

Dear Editor,

The following appeared in the Red Deer Advocate recently.

“The province will examine the spending habits of the Town of Penhold following requests to conduct a municipal review.

After the town raised taxes by 4.75 per cent this year, a number of citizens voiced their outrage to town council.

Mayor Dennis Cooper said in light of the concerns, town council requested a review from the province.

At the same time, town resident Ken McCarthy hosted a rally and gathered a petition with 585 signatures requesting the same action.

Wendy McGarth, a Municipal Affairs public affairs officer, confirmed that the province accepted the petition and will conduct a review in the coming months.

The inspector will look at the town’s policies, financial statements and the practices of the town and interview town council, staff and administration.”

The accompanying article speaks about a municipal review of the Town of Penhold management and spending practices. It is prophetic of what needs to be done in Sylvan Lake as well.

A letter in last week’s paper spoke about the town’s deception in approving the demolition of the lighthouse at the marina due to its supposedly unstable condition. The real reason is that it will impair the views from the new condos being developed at that site.

Several weeks ago another article revealed how the town blatantly ignored the needs of the cruise boats which have a legally binding agreement to moor at the marina. They gave the developer permission to reconfigure the waterway making it too small for them to operate out of.

Last spring the mayor proclaimed in the newspaper that boat launching at the marina would be preserved despite massive development being allowed there. This summer I spoke to a worker at the deserted boat launch. He confessed that their plan of raising launching fees to $40 had worked better than putting up a fence to keep people out.

Welcome to Sylvan Lake, if you can find access to it. Basic downtown services like a gas station, a grocery store or a boat launch are non-existent.

Lights at the main highway intersection on top of the hill have still not been installed to provide complete access.

When the downtown business association dissolved several years ago they gave a substantial sum of money to the town for building a small amphitheatre on the pier. What happened to that money, or was it needed to build the new Taj Mahal behind Lions Park instead?

There are too many behind the scenes deals going on and certain people’s priorities are being pursued without regard for the views of the democratic majority. Taxpayers are the ones paying the bills and they should not wait for another huge tax increase like the Town of Penhold experienced before demanding a municipal review in Sylvan Lake.

Craig Little,

Sylvan Lake

Editor’s Note: The money from the downtown business association still sits in town coffers awaiting a solution to the amphitheatre request.