Apparently the property owners of Valemount and Area H will soon be asked to vote on an upcoming referendum. I am writing to caution all eligible residents to not only vote, but to do their due diligence by attending the public meetings and asking pertinent questions.
It appears that Regional District will accept any reasonable proposal to add a facility or event financing to the property tax roll if it meets certain conditions. Regional District will then bear the costs, through taxpayer dollars, to advertise, promote and conduct a referendum to achieve an assent vote. However, it appears to be the taxpayer’s responsibility to conduct their own feasibility study to question the economic viability or social need to add the facility or event to the property tax assessment.
Not only should the voters attend public meetings, but voters should be prepared to question any and all of the data presented.
Data that you should expect to see presented:
- Financial statements of operations – past and present interim statements.
• Business plans with budgeted projections.
• Usage data including days of operation and demographics of attendance (i.e. adults/children).
• Evidence as to the community support for the present and future need of such a service or facility.
Questions that you should be prepared to ask:
• What do the numbers represent on the financial statements as presented? (i.e. how much is the admission fee or members fees; what actually is included in a certain expense, etc.) Who prepared the financial statements and have they been audited or reviewed by a creditable source?
• How do the budgeted projections compare to the past performance depicted in the financial statements? Does the budget include a new or inflated source of revenue NOT previously shown on the financial statements? If so, what is the feasibility of the applicant to achieve this revenue?
• Are there any budgeted revenues that transfer a revenue source from an already taxpayer funded facility, program, or private business such as the Lion’s Hall/Community Hall/Legion/or private businesses like the Best Western? If so, why and what are the future consequences to the previous taxpayer funded program or private business?
• Who is accountable if the projected budget figures are not met and how would additional sources of funds be met?
• Are there any moral issues that conflict with your personal values? Are you comfortable in supporting a fully licensed event or establishment, supported by your property tax dollars?
• How are the votes considered? Is any failure to vote considered a vote to agree?
• What are some of the potential future requirements for my tax dollars? Will my area be required to fund a NON volunteer fire department in the near future, or a volunteer fire department for the Tete Jaune area, etc? How will future requirements for funding of essential services affect my future property taxes?
• What would be the consequences to the residents of Valemount and Area H if a referendum is defeated? Would there be a loss of employment; a significant loss in tourism or economic development; or a significant impact on our community’s quality of life?
I cannot impress upon the Valemount and Area H eligible voters how important it is to participate in any referendum vote and pre-emptive public meetings. If referendums can so easily be considered and promoted, then be prepared for future referendums to include: the Lion’s hall; the Valemount Legion facility; the community halls attached to churches; a golf club lounge; etc, etc.
PLEASE VOTERS, TAKE A REFERENDUM SERIOUSLY.
Area H Property Owner and resident since 1975