Few would argue that city hall is in the red, substantially, due to the municipal debt hovering around the $19.4-million mark — plus accumulating interest.
In fact, all three mayoral candidates have acknowledged that it’s an issue, though all three say they have a strategy in mind to deal with it.
The Tribune decided to take an in-depth look at the City’s debt and to find out what the mayoral hopefuls have to say about it, especially since all three have played a role in its accumulation (see Robyn Chambers’s stories on pages A1, A4 and A9 of today’s Tribune).
That’s not to say they were the only ones making the decisions at city hall.
Of course, every debt approval decision is made by a quorum of council members. And there were previous councils under different leaderships that also contributed to the amount. Some would argue projects such as sewer and water infrastructure; the fire hall; and Mackenzie Avenue work were much needed and therefore the debt was justified. Though some, of course, would argue otherwise, that either the projects weren’t needed that much or that they could have been funded in other ways.
While we think it’s important to understand the decisions made in the past, it’s also important to know how each candidate plans to tackle the debt in the future. Because it’s us, the taxpayers, who are paying for that debt and will continue to do so for many years to come (by the way, a one per cent tax increase is equivalent to $100,000).
Walt Cobb, Scott Nelson, and Mayor Kerry Cook all have plans to tackle this debt.
It’s up to us, the voters, to decide what plan we think would work best for our community and how we will not only pay for past projects still affecting our tax dollars, but also how future projects should be funded.