Bannister Research is conducting a survey to determine residents priority for a new ice rink, aquatic centre, or library. Participants are not given the option to say "none of the above." Participants are then asked if they are in favour of increasing property taxes 2.5 per cent per year for twenty years to pay for their number one choice. Apparently the cost to build any of the three is estimated to be between $16 million and $20 million.
Here’s my take on the survey: First, if St. Albert residents were given first priority for available ice time and swimming lessons we wouldn’t need either of those capital projects.
Second, if the library director spent as much time culling low subscription books as he spends lobbying residents and council, we would not need a new library. The library is only overcrowded when it comes to space for new books, it’s not overcrowded with people.
Less than one per cent of residents use the library and the library has an operating deficit of over $3 million per year. This deficit is more than sufficient to purchase every household in St. Albert with a kindle electronic reader laptop every year, that has thousands of free books available. There is absolutely no need for another library, now or in the future.
Lastly, council is simply using this survey to justify spending millions of dollars on capital projects we don’t need, and then increasing property taxes.
St. Albert has one of the highest property tax assessments in the province, yet council continues to spend with little or no consideration for the property owners.
Norm Harley, St. Albert