Iqaluit mayor responds to editorial
There are some errors and omission in the editorial “It’s Iqaluit’s time to decide,” published Sept. 7, 2012, which the City of Iqaluit needs to correct and clarify so that Iqaluit voters can make an informed decision on Oct. 15.
First of all, it is incorrect to state the City of Iqaluit has nothing to show for all the work that has been done with respect to a new cemetery site. Significant work has been done at the Road to Nowhere cemetery site beyond the placement of a sign.
This council has not shied away from making difficult or unpopular decisions, however, council felt it was prudent and necessary to undertake an engineering site assessment, something that should have been done when initial sites were selected. The city has put out an RFP with respect to engineering services, proper cost estimates to complete the site development, along with optimization and looking at the viability of the two other sites.
Second, the city has not been immobile with respect to the landfill, and identifying potential sites is only one part of a larger and much necessary process. Proper engineering assessments have to be done on those sites for viability, compliance with regulation, including the setback requirements for airports, associated construction and operating costs, so that the city and the community can make an informed decision with all the necessary and relevant information.
Third, the city has undertaken extensive work with respect to Piqutivut capital projects, of which the aquatic centre is one part, and which includes a comprehensive business plan. The plan also includes financial analysis and cost projections both for construction and operating and maintenance costs.
The city has provided a flyer and FAQ sheet along with sample tax assessment scenarios on its website so people can see how their property taxes will be affected. In addition, the city is also uploading the proposed aquatic centre operating and maintenance budget so residents can see the revenues and expenses on its website.
Tremendous efforts have been made to ensure that residential property taxes are reasonable and affordable, even without territorial and-or federal government support. Nonetheless, the city is lobbying and working with both levels of government to secure financial contributions for this project, through existing or future capital funding agreements.
The sample tax assessment Scenario A shows that taxes for a single family residence would increase from $1,474.74 to $1,491.55 in the first year, less than a $20 tax increase.
This rate of increase of $20 to $25 per year continues under scenario A for the next seven years.
Sample tax assessment Scenario B shows that the same single family residence would see taxes go from $1,474.74 to $1,531.96, a $57 increase, which would be similar for the following seven years.
The city will have a booth at Northmart in the weeks leading up to the referendum to discuss and answer any questions any person may have on the aquatic centre project and the referendum, and to assist in anyone’s likely tax increases.
The city has also undertaken an infrastructure inventory and assessment, which it has submitted to Industry Canada as part of the national initiative by the federal government, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and cities across Canada with respect to developing a new infrastructure program and partnership for municipal infrastructure projects. Such projects include landfills, roads, water and sewer lines, city hall, and an emergency response centre, to name a few.
All three levels of government are committed to working together to address the much-needed infrastructure within our communities across the country, and the City of Iqaluit is ensuring that we are part of that process and partnership.
The city welcomes and invites media and community members to seek as much information as they require, so they may make an informed decision when voting in the upcoming referendum.
Mayor of Iqaluit
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