IN THE NEWS
Recent huge expenditures by Clearwater County have prompted a special edition of the Clearwater County Taxpayers’ Association newsletter, The Beacon. We trust our county taxpayers will appreciate our efforts to inform them of where a large amount of their tax dollars are being spent.
- Caroline Land Purchase---In January the County purchased 112 acres of land on the north-east corner of Caroline for $560,000 or $5,000 per acre. This is more than double the average purchase price for similar land in the county. The reason for the purchase was to accommodate a necessary salt and sand storage facility. Only 11 acres, however, are needed for that purpose. The remainder is to be developed for resale as light industrial, highway commercial, or residential property.
- Caroline Land Development---In June county council approved a $4.9 million plan to develop phase one of a light industrial and commercial area on their recently purchased land at Caroline. This cost will cover the construction of the salt/sand facility and the creation of 11 additional industrial lots. Of the $4.9 million, $1.2 million will be dedicated to the construction of the county’s facility, while the remainder will cover a storm water drainage pond, a paved access road, lot grading and landscaping, utility installation, wetland compensation, Hwy. 54 intersection upgrades and associated engineering and contingency funds.
- Rocky Mtn. House Land Purchase--- Now in July it was announced that the county had purchased 154 acres near the Rocky Mtn. House airport for $1.2 million dollars or $7, 792 per acre. This is more than 3.5 times the average price for hay/pasture land according to Farm Credit Canada averages for this area. This land will also be used for a new salt/sand facility and a new public works/ag services building, using up about 60 acres of the property. The remainder will be available for “future development”.
- CAO Salary---Earlier in the year council approved an 11.6% increase in the CAO’s salary from $208, 257 in 2014 to $232, 597 in 2015 (an increase of $24, 347 for the year). Added to that is a projected cost of benefits for 2015 of $35, 698, though the actual figure will not be known until the end of the year. This year’s increase follows previous increases of 3.9% in 2014, 4.85% in 2013, and 14.9% in 2012.
It is absolutely ludicrous that our tax dollars are being spent at rates grossly exceeding the norms. To not only spend from 2 to 3 times the normal purchase price, but then to purchase significantly more land than is actually needed, shows complete disregard for fiscal responsibility. It is unacceptable for our tax dollars to be used for risky ventures such as such as questionable commercial development in today’s recessive economy. All things considered, it seems that those making financial decisions are completely out of touch with reality and county taxpayers are left to bear the brunt of such irresponsibility… or is it a calculated attempt to use up a significant portion of the $58 million in reserves before the new provincial government sees the taxpayer funded gold mine???
If you would like to share your views or have comments on any of this information you may kindly contact any of our Board members listed below or come to our meetings.
September 10, 2015, Regular monthly meeting
October 8, 2015, Regular monthly meeting