TERRACE city council isn’t exactly like the governments in Greece or Italy or Ireland and given to hasty and potentially very costly economic decisions but taxpayers have to wonder at the speed at which it disposed of the $375,000 unexpected grant from the provincial government.
The $375,000 was meant to help pay for the Davis Ave. road project but arrived after the city had committed its own money. Essentially, the $375,000 became available for other uses.
It’s not so much the choices council eventually made (with the demolition of the old Terrace Co-op building topping the list) but that council treated the $375,000 like a $20 bill someone might find in an old coat – “hey, let’s go for lunch!”
Virtually ignored was a reasoned analysis submitted by the city’s finance director pointing out the state of the city’s surplus, the cost of borrowing planned for the next year for specific projects and so on.
The closest council got to a reasoned discussion were statements from Mayor Dave Pernarowski and Councillor Brad Pollard that spending the money on the city’s long-planned industrial park at the airport would trigger matching federal and provincial grants. On the surface, it would not be a bad way to multiply the impact of the grant money.
While it all may have been pretty boring stuff, councils need to know that paying attention to the taxpayers’ piggybank is important.