On p.A4 there was “Council Expenses Mount” which highlighted how our City’s council expenses had “shot up more than $23,000 in 2009 compared to the previous year.” Apparently most of the expenses were the result of 5 members who traveled to China/Japan.
Coun. Jaimie McEvoy topped spending with $10,307 in expenses, followed by Lorrie Williams ($8,727), Betty McIntosh ($8,514) and Bill Harper ($8,383), who all made the trip. Mayor Wayne Wright, who led the delegation, incurred $7,133 in expenses, and another $5,151 in expenses stemming from his role as chair of the New Westminster Police Board.
Then on p. A9 there were two more interestingly timed stories, one regarding the number of city employees making over $100K and the other about how the City (read New Westminster taxpayers) will pay for the pier park debt.Apparently we now have almost double the number of employees we had making over $100K in 2008. In 2008 we had 38 staffers making over $100K and we now have 70.
Also on this page was an article on how the City (taxpayers) will be paying for the future debt of the Westminster Pier Park. According to the News Leader, “residential taxpayers won’t be on the hook-directly, at least-for paying down the debt, which will total more than $16 million.” New Westminster council borrowed $8 million to buy the pier property and another $8.3 million to pay our share of the park construction costs. Supposedly the first loan will be paid back by 2014 using development cost charges, density bonusing and proceeds from the sale of city-owned land. Density bonusing permits developers to build higher density on a site in exchange for payments to the City. One has to ponder how much denser our City will become or how much land our City is going to sell off in the next four years in order for us to be able to raise $8 million. The second loan will cost taxpayers approximately $730,000 annually for 15 years. It should be noted that this loan is for the ‘first-phase” of the park. At this rate by the time the vision for this park is fully realized our grandchildren will be paying for it.