City council will make the final decision on borrowing to purchase the old Synergy Credit Union building on Monday.
During the council session of July 25, the item was brought up for first reading at the council table. After discussion of the proposal, a 6-1 vote to support the borrowing was passed at the table. The total cost of the purchase would be $4,716,000, in order to complete the first phase of the Community Hub project.
At the time, councillor Ken Baker vocal in his disagreement about the borrowing, while councillors Larry Sauer and Jason Whiting both argued in favour of the decision. Lloydminster mayor Rob Saunders also weighed in, speaking about the need to be both financially prudent, while calling the purchase and the Community Hub project a “bold move”.
However, the 6-1 vote was only at the stage of first reading. This Monday, council could possibly bring the item to third reading, which would then pass it into law. A public hearing on the matter will be held before it goes to second and third reading.
Three letters from Lloydminster residents discussing the project are to be introduced during the public hearing, and full copies of the letters are enclosed within the documents of the latest council agenda.
In the first letter, residents Phylliss Hunchak and Robert Cherniak object to the purchase, citing concerns about the debt levels of the municipal government and the needs of the city.
“There is a greater need in our city for a water & sewer upgrade of over $80,000,000.00, to which you, as city administrators, have told us, the tax payers, the city is unable to get financing for,” reads a line in the letter, which was written by the pair of property owners.
“There are a lot of taxpayers who are having financial difficulty with the down turn in the oil industry and economy in general. This slow down, is not temporary as we saw in the past 30 years. We feel it is time for the city to pull in the reins and face reality of today’s economy.”
In the second, resident Robert Cuny voices much of the same concerns, and voices support for previous efforts to find a partnership with EPCOR. In the third, resident Deb Britton also expressed her opinion on the uses of the building.
“Not only is the purchase a concern, but the intended use of the building should be reconsidered,” wrote Britton.
“With the intended mention of mostly NPO’s (non profit organizations) being tenants, there should be concern where the balance of the funds would come from to offset the expenses of the loan incurred etc., being the taxpayers. We are already taxed to death, and we feel that as lifelong residents of Lloydminster, this is not in our communities’ best interest.”
A decision on the bylaw will be made during Monday’s meeting.