Proceed with caution

The election is over and next week mayor and council will be sworn in.

The election is over and next week mayor and council will be sworn in.

Interestingly, this is the least experienced council we have had in years.

Although three incumbents were returned, only one of them, Mario Feldhoff, has multi-years on council.

Rob Goffinet has just one term under his belt and Corinne Scott only one year – although she has served elsewhere.

Then there are the three newcomers, Edwin Empinado, Phil Germuth and Mary Murphy.

That is not necessarily a bad thing – it means there is little baggage being carried forward.

And all those elected, being well aware voters were fed up with the shenanigans that went on in the last three years, are sure to be doing their level best to project a very different image.

It is also to be hoped that they will be realistic enough to recognise that, for all the talk of boom, this council will have to proceed with caution when it comes to spending money.

Let us assume that both Rio Tinto Alcan and KM LNG announce final approval for their projects early in the New Year.

How much extra money will that put in city coffers in 2012? Absolutely none.

The city will only see a significantly increased tax base when projects are completed – and in the case of KM LNG, not even then because the plant is being built on Haisla land.

(Granted the city will pick up extra utilities taxation from the gas line being built to KM LNG, but that will hardly offset the loss from Eurocan’s closure.)

Given the forecast timelines for the various projects, the reality is that those extra economic development tax dollars will likely not start to flow full force until after the 2014 election.

Therefore, ideas such as getting involved in the money-losing MK Bay Marina – worse yet, building a new one – look untenable unless council intends to find the money by hiking taxes for other property classes including residential.

Not forgetting we still have a load of debt to pay off from the swimming pool upgradewhich had a cost overrun of 50 per cent.

That said, council can still do a lot of good work over the next three years – they’re just going to have to watch the pennies when they do.




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