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Editorial: Tax increase leaves question of spending priorities

Whether a pump track is a good investment of course is a highly subjective thing with people having their own reasons for saying yay, or nay.
city hall 72
Yorkton Council has publicly unveiled its 2023 budget. (File Photo)

YORKTON - In what has to be a surprise to no one taxes appear to be going up again in 2023.

Council revealed its operating and capital budgets to the public for the first time at its regular meeting and with all the nitty gritty discussions completed behind closed doors the public unaware of the position of its councillors on most aspects of the document.

In the end the key aspect of the documents unveiled for most will be that the proposed budget includes the following increases required in taxation: operations 2.93 per cent and capital one per cent for a total hike of 3.93 per cent.

When you consider the factors impacting budget such as the inflation for the year has been sitting around the seven per cent or higher mark, as was detailed in Council documents, or the continuing deficit in terms of pavement, sidewalk and sewer and water line renewal an increase was all but guaranteed.

In fact, most could point to numerous infrastructure shortcomings not yet addressed – think your favourite pothole on a city street.

But wait at the same meeting of Council it was also decided to proceed to complete the design on the Columbia Park Development. The development has a budget of roughly one million with a BMX Pump track at its heart. For those with no idea of what a pump track is – most local taxpayers one might expect – Wikipedia describes them as “a circuit of rollers, banked turns and features designed to be ridden completely by riders ‘pumping’—generating momentum by up and down body movements, instead of pedaling or pushing.”

Outdoor recreation facilities which cater to youth being active should be high on a community list of desired options, but how does a pump track measure up against pavement replacement.

Now the motion Monday was to complete design but not go to tender, which means we are willing to invest in paying someone to draw plans, but we won’t commit to building it. That seems a bit of have your cake and eat it too.

To those who came to Council asking for a track they can be told plans are under way. Those questioning the cost, well the city isn’t building anything – at least yet.

Whether a pump track is a good investment of course is a highly subjective thing with people having their own reasons for saying yay, or nay. The same would have been the case for the millions into a clubhouse for golfers, or the facility on York Road to house many city services.

Certainly the above three examples look far nicer on a city brochure than the same dollars laying pavement and sidewalk cement, but that does not mean infrastructure needs go away either.


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