Spending $75,000 on exterior of City Hall doesn’t make sense

Cleaning up City Hall is a frivolous expense and should be near the bottom of the priority list given the projected deficit.

Many of our readers will remember last March when the City of Prince Rupert was discussing the potential of spending $50,000 to create a website that was iPad and iPhone friendly.

At the time many in the community, myself included, pointed to the utter ridiculousness of paying that much money for something so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Funding was being cut back from community groups, infrastructure was failing, and residents were facing a tax hike to balance the budget.

Fast-forward a year and not much has changed. Infrastructure is another year older and in no better condition than last year, community groups are clamoring for money, there is a $513,000 deficit projected and council wants to spend a whole bunch of money on something pretty inconsequential.

In this case, the City wants to spend $75,000 to pretty up City Hall.

That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. No person in their right mind would spend money to beautify the outside of their home while the plumbing and heating are close to failing, and yet council wants to spruce up City Hall while infrastructure ages and the nuts and bolts of what make our community function, volunteer groups that provide service to residents that the City isn’t, suffer with less money than before. $75,000 isn’t going to replace a water line or re-pave a street, but putting money toward those kinds of projects would at least show that the priorities of council are in the right place.

And what does re-painting or beautifying City Hall truly accomplish? Are potential investors or businesses going to shun our town because City Hall is looking its age? No.

Will residents move out of town because they don’t like the aesthetics of a City Hall that is head and shoulders above others in the northwest – like the square building in Terrace or the upper level of the City Centre Mall in Kitimat? No.

But businesses may think twice if the roads are horrible or their shops flood, and residents may look to move if the quality of life fails. That should be the focus of council, not the look of the building.

Cleaning up City Hall is a frivolous expense, plain and simple, and should be near the bottom of the priority list given the projected deficit.

Nobody would buy an iPhone for yourself while the fridge sits empty, so why should residents accept something like this?