The time to vote our opinion is quickly approaching. I have listened to both sides of the debate and still have many questions that haven’t been answered satisfactorily. For the past 3+ years the Library and Museum boards would have us believe that the Move to 521 Main Street wouldn’t cost the taxpayers of McBride and District a single additional penny. Now we are about to vote on whether we wish to spend close to 1.9 million dollars over the next 25 years for a move to a new location on Main Street, without even providing additional Services to the taxpayers. (In the meetings they said same hours, same services.)
Has a new revised operating budget been put together for the new location (not including the additional $40,000 per year included in the assent vote that is required just for increased insurance, taxes and a maintenance reserve fund)? The library and museum committee (the committee) stated that there is no need for a “521 Main Street budget” as they are assuming that there will be no additional costs for maintaining an additional 1,600 sq ft. They are predicting cost savings ?! I believe this as much as I believe that the move to 521 Main Street won’t cost taxpayers a single extra penny.
The feasibility study looked at only three options, of which 521 Main Street appears to be the lowest cost. But what about other options that weren’t included in the study, other vacant buildings in town? Why do the Library and Museum need to be housed together? I’m more inclined to visit a museum next to an info centre than a library. For the committee to say a “No vote” would mean the closure of the Library and Museum is misleading. It would mean that they would just need to look at other more fiscally responsible options.
The committee also stated that they have fund raised over $129,000 towards this new location. Why is only $47,700 of this money going towards the property purchase? Perhaps some was used for the fiscally irresponsible purchase of the two lots next to 521 Main Street, prior to the results of the Assent vote. Part of the museum’s operating budget must now include property taxes for these two lots regardless of the outcome of the vote.
I’m also not sure how the committee managed to slip the inappropriate “Vote Yes” brochure in with the Regional District mailing at the end of March. The committee wasn’t registered with elections BC. The Regional District assured those of us who contacted them that they are only a facilitator and have no opinion one way or the other. The committee was permitted to include a “factual” brochure, not one telling people how they should vote. If I wasn’t decided before I received this piece of propaganda, I certainly am now. A NO VOTE for 521 Main Street will save taxpayers a significant amount of money and will force the committee to look at other less expensive, more fiscally responsible options. It is now decision time and everyone needs to get out and vote on April 30th.