Penny wise, pound foolish

Council committed to keep taxes low and do more with less

Editor, The Record:

 

Mr. (Paul) Horn continues to stay confused why his council was defeated in the last election. It is no surprise that Mr. Horn did not want a core service review conducted in the District of Mission as it shone a light on the shadowlands of the last council. We could have spent $350,000 on a core service review like Prince George did but we didn’t need to do that. The current council had a pretty good idea where the problems were and the review confirmed this.

Had Mr. Horn waited for the public consultation presentation held by Mr. Bruce Acton on Thursday July 19, 2012 before telling the citizens of Mission that the core service review was a waste of money, he would have learned the following: Bruce Acton whose company Acton Consulting did the review said, “The previous council made decisions that were not in the best interest of the taxpayers of Mission. They were penny wise and a pound foolish. They chose to ignore recommendations by the engineering staff on public infrastructure maintenance which was neglected on their watch and will cost us in the future.”

The review shone a flashlight and not the spotlight it could have, but there are many areas that we have found in the shadows where improvements will be made. The review shows that improvements are needed in forestry, capital maintenance,  departmental organization, the fire department and, yes, even communication.

Some of the community members who attended couldn’t understand why morale was low when the wages and benefits are in many cases far better than what is earned in the private sector for comparable work. We know there is more to morale than just money, and so we have work to do. We have many great people who work at the district and we endeavor to honour them, but we were also elected to take a long hard look at how we can become more efficient and we recognize that this process is not easy and can cause some uncertainty.

Mr Acton also said that “in the past” — which means when Mr. Horn ruled — “that the district never took full advantage of how to access funding from upper levels of government. Mission is at the low end of the scale compared with other communities in lobbying for project funding.” Mr. Horn, it seems that you saw tax increases as the only source of income growth.

Our citizens will see in the next few months with the advanced budget that we will continue to keep taxes at sustainable levels, we will organize the district more efficiently and we do more (much more) with less.

I hope, Mr. Horn, that you will join us face to face next time and hear the whole story before you condemn this council’s desire to be transparent with how the District of Mission conducts its business. We actually believe that our neighbours, who are the taxpayers of this community, have a right to know what is really going on. So, Mr Horn, please join us, that way your penny will be better spent.

 

Dave Hensman

District of Mission councillor