I am writing regarding Telkwa Councillor Rimas Zitkauskas’ spin on the 2012 Budget in the Interior News.
Councillor Zitkauskas refers to Telkwa’s ‘eyebrow raising’ population growth, using a time period starting in 1983.
Councillor Zitkauskas justifies his council’s big spending plans by suggesting that Telkwa will soon ‘expand into the next stage, to a village with well above 2,000 people.’
One of Telkwa’s largest employment groups is the logging and forest products sector; an industry with a very uncertain future.
There was the reference to a recent Community Plan, with an $18 million to-do list for the village, $6 million of which will go to paving Telkwa’s streets.
That’s almost $13,000 for every man, woman and child!
I looked through the Community Plan, but couldn’t find this wish list.
The ICSP has a vague summary of things they would like to do, but I was unable to find a reference to paving.
I looked through the 5-Year Budget, to see if paving is listed in the capital projects, but could not find it.
Councillor Zitkauskas failed to mention the total operations wages and benefits for Village of Telkwa employees is slated for an increase of 33 per cent ($193,245) from 2010 to 2012.
Additional increases are also slated in the following years.
Village of Telkwa employees also appear to be very well paid. A current posting for a summer student labourer / groundskeeper, offers a salary of $23.46/hr.
In the most recent Annual Report, Councilor Zitkauskas listed the Economic Development Committee as one of his duties.
This Committee, established in 2008, has never convened a meeting.
Instead, regarding spending on economic development, the public budget presentation refers to the Village’s Grant Writing program.
While the pursuit of grant funding is a worthy one, referring to it as economic development is like stating you are gainfully employed because you collect welfare cheques.
Residents visiting the Village of Telkwa website will be hard pressed to find information on any current capital projects.
The May issue of Telkwa’s Village Newsletter doesn’t mention the budget or any capital projects.
So much for transparent government.