Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BC Conservatives would require Municipalities to hold referenda for all borrowing

Another bit for the BC Conservative policy document


2.2.3.  Amending current legislation so that municipalities are required to hold referenda for borrowing for capital projects and to ensure the “alternative approval process”, also  known as the “counter-petition” process, is prohibited.

While this sounds nice the problem becomes one of costs, holding a referendum is not cheap and the whole point of the counter petition process was to give local governments a way to get approval for borrowing for projects that are broadly supported.  Making this change will add significant costs to local government with no benefit in return for the public.

The counter petition process is a more than reasonable way for a public that is not happy with a proposed capital project borrowing to force the issue to a vote of the public.  The threshold at 10% is low to be achievable by any organized group of people that have public support.

I personally think that municipalities should not be restricted in how they borrow money and should be allowed to deficit budget but I also believe that municipalities should be recognized constitutionally as a third order of government.
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