TOP TEN REASONS TO VOTE “NO” – Submitted by the Committee for An Affordable Fire Hall
#10. The volunteers on the Committee for an Affordable Fire Hall care deeply about our town and our firefighters. We believe we can find fiscally responsible options, using donations and grants, to minimize tax increases. After the referendum, we will work tirelessly in order to implement a PLAN B to build a fire hall that is affordable.
#9. The Town of Creston has known for over a decade a new fire hall was needed and yet they have not put aside money, researched grants and funding, or considered any other option that would mitigate the impact on the taxpayer.
#8. The architectural firm of Johnston Davidson has built 45 fire halls and claims they have been involved in “many successful referendum campaigns.” They have already received $170,000 from the Town an amount that would pay the average annual wage of 7 citizens of Creston. Despite this, there is no detailed design.
#7. The Town has spent thousands of current tax dollars on expensive advertising and open houses to push their agenda. They claim they are the only source of reliable information, but they have provided no data on component break-downs, or projected operating costs. They would not postpone the referendum until they had negotiated service contracts with RDCK and the BC Ambulance Service, so they are asking you to approve borrowing without precise information about actual costs to you.
#6. The Town already owns the property next to the police station, it was allocated by a past council for a future fire hall, and the road adjacent to it was built, with tax dollars, in anticipation of a fire hall going there. The Town prefers to expropriate land next to Extra Foods (Pealow’s), removing commercial property from the tax base, and wading into legal proceedings with one of Canada’s wealthiest business families.
#5.The Creston Fire Hall Project lists the Central Saanich $6.5 million fire hall as an example of the kind of facility they would like:
Central Saanich property tax ($250,000 home): $1620, Creston $2637;
Central Saanich median total income: $41,425, Creston,$25,504;
Central Saanich population: 16,814, Creston, 5226.
#4. Creston’s largest corporate tax payer, The Columbia Brewery just closed its bottling line and cut jobs. Remaining workers have grave concerns about the future of the brewery. Not the time for a fire hall with a gym, drive-thru bays, 2 kitchens, a lounge, and 46 parking stalls.
#3. The 2017 Amended Five Year Financial Plan states the Town of Creston is planning to drive up Property Tax Revenues from the current $4,106,863 to $5,081,000 by 2021, an increase of 21.91 % over the next FOUR years. That’s a LOT of coffee.
#2. The Town claims revenue from RDCK service contracts will help pay down the debt, but what about the EXPENSES involved in providing those services? If there was profit to be made from the contract revenues, why wasn’t it put away each year for a new fire hall?
#1. The interest payment on $6,100,000 (at 3.3% amortized over 20 years) would be well over $2,000,000 making the real cost for the proposed Fire Hall over EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS!!!!