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Deputy Mayor Norma McColeman released budget details for 2020-21 recently. I believe there have been serious decisions made, which are not a priority. First, to allocate $10 million to an ongoing Eco Park, which the city just invested $3 million in, is questionable.
To allocate $200,000 to the Pope Road/Central Street project is way below what taxpayers expected. This amount of money will do very little for a serious problem that has been ongoing for over 20 years. The safety factors here certainly deserve more attention, than an Eco Park.
Further, no money allocated or updated plan for our drug crisis. Now we hear there is yet another study coming for the new fire services complex. At what cost?
Talked about a raise for mayor and councillors of two per cent goes against all election promises, which were no tax increases and wages for the full term. Who is making these outrageous decisions? What about a traffic section and bylaw officer, for our police services, both issues discussed many times, with promises to deliver. To date nothing done.
Our operating expenses have risen 13 per cent over five years, but revenues have not increased. This requires a full explanation to the residents. Could it be our small city is spending like a large city? Why does the city keep borrowing millions every year, keep going over budget, as what happened this year by $1 million?
If any business was operating like the City of Summerside, they would be bankrupt. This is one of the main reasons city council has voted down a forensic audit for many years.
I also question, very seriously, $53 million dollars to operate a small city with a population of approximately 14,500 residents. Our downtown area is a ghost town, with no mention of this crisis throughout the budget.