Due to what appears to be vehement opposition, town council has deferred until its April 29 meeting, any decision on leasing or selling the town offices to the library board.
“In all reality, it’s not any kind of do or die questions. There is no reason not to wait on this issue,” said Coun. Paul Payson. “We’ve heard a lot of input. We need to give ourselves some breathing room over the next couple of weeks.”
Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson would like to make a decision and move on but agreed the issue had brought concerns from taxpayers to the forefront.
Town council’s decision followed a presentation by Rimbey resident Daryl Hunt, who told council he did not want to see the town offices sold or leased. Hunt expressed concerns about taxpayers paying $3,400 a month to lease the provincial building. He was also concerned about seniors who would have to take a walking path to access the building.
“If you are going to spend $8,500 finishing that walking path, you’d better have hearse at the other end,” he said.
Hunt does not want to see the town office moved.
“The focal point of your town is your town office. You build your town around it. That’s my opinion as a taxpayer. It don’t make sense to me.”
While Hunt expressed his opinions without much arguing from council, Ibbotson pointed out costs to lease the provincial building would be in the range of $3,000 a month.
Hunt suggested council consider borrowing the money to expand the town office or purchase another building.
However, municipalities are only allowed to borrow a percentage of their income, explained CEO Tony Goode, noting Rimbey can have a debt load of up to $7.5 million. The town owes approximately $3.6 million.
“It’s not like a farm at all,” said Coun. Scott Ellis. “They don’t ask about assets, they ask about revenue.”
Hunt went on to say even if the petition were deemed illegal, 394 signatures were valid.
“The petition, whether it was legal or not, people signed it,” he said.