I find it almost mind boggling, and concerning, to see that the Village of Salmo, in less than two years, may have squandered approximately $360,000 of taxpayer dollars on expenditures that, in my opinion, were, and still are, completely unnecessary and in violation of Community Charter expenditure rules.
This is a result of some very questionable and poor decision making.
The following points of fact will establish my concerns:
After the 2014 election, in less than a week, a decision was made to dismiss the Corporate Officer.
This has led to a massive lawsuit that is now reaching two years in duration. I cannot even fathom what the final costs will be when this is finally over but if it is not near the $200,000 range I would be very surprised. Many say this will be much more when the dust finally settles. With legal fees alone, this amount will be astronomical win or lose. And why??
Also shortly after the election, a decision was made to payout over $100,000 or more to past employees who were terminated by the village. Given the fact that each of these past employees had accepted their severance packages, this is a blatant misuse of public funds. I still have not received any response or explanation from the village as to why this was done. I have given plenty of time (seven months) to respond.
I can only assume that if it has taken this long to respond there must be no reasonable explanation of why our tax dollars were spent this way.
The latest expenditure of course was the ineligible expenditure of $60,000 on a piece of property the village purchased. The C.F.O. has claimed responsibility for this error but if those involved had taken the time to study this a little more closely, it could have been prevented. If it was not in the financial plan someone should have picked up on this. In addition if this decision had been more carefully studied, they should have been aware of what legal advice had already been provided to the village regarding this property.
One has to wonder how many more discrepancies in the spending of our tax dollars will appear. There have been so many closed meetings, it is hard to properly assess what has and has not been done financially.
In summary, roughly $360,000, or more, of our tax dollars, in my opinion, have been needlessly and illegally spent that should have gone towards many more important projects within the community. All of us, as taxpayers, should be extremely concerned where our tax money is going.
This affects us all. After all it is “OUR” tax money! The most urgent question that needs to be answered is where on earth was this money taken from and where will it come from in the future when this is all settled? This is approximately 75 per cent of a whole years tax collection. We need to get answers, and soon, from council. Someone has to be held accountable for this money.