Voters and taxpayers in the City of Parksville will, indeed, be watching city hall’s priorities this late summer and fall.
Certainly, The News will be watching, and letting our readers know where the city plans to spend its money.
Mayor Chris Burger dropped in to The News recently, offering some words about where council sees the community’s immediate future. That future, it seems, will be wrapped up with concerns about its water supply.
A recent slide from a steep slope into the Englishman River has the city busily reviewing its water source and treatment options. City staff do make a solid point that in the case of such incidents, having a safe, secure source of drinking water is prudent. In this case, the city was able to turn to its well water supply, bypassing the river source until the water cleared up. It was a temporary solution and in the meantime, Parksville continues its research and planning on alternate means of storing potable water.
Water is, clearly, a city priority. Council and staff have made it clear that spending around $50 million on new water treatment and storage will occur over a period of a few years. The city has little in the way of options here, as this is partially dictated to them by levels of senior government.
Be that as it may, Burger is urging people to pay close attention to the city’s budget priorities. This is taxpayers’ dollars they will be spending and it behooves us to ensure they are spending it on the right things. It’s hard to argue that clean, plentiful water is not a priority — it will be the rest of the items of the city’s expense list that will face even more scrutiny.
With limited tax dollars to work with and a big ticket item like water to deal with, Parksville will have little wiggle room for extras. With council holding the line on taxes and limiting expenditures across the board, they will be severely tested by people’s wish lists.
The challenge for them will be in sticking to their guns.