Prince Rupert mayor provides update on emergency services building

The City of Prince Rupert has the costs, design and land set aside for the new emergency services building, now it comes down to where the money will come from.

"To build a new emergency services building would cost all of us between a five and six per cent increase in our taxes. The City is trying to be very mindful of the taxpayers," said mayor Jack Mussallem during a Feb. 20 Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

"What we are trying to do it see if we can, not indefinitely postpone it, but prolong it to the point where we see some more export terminals and projects come on line to spread the cost out over more properties."

Another uncertainty related to the project is how to go about financing the project once it does proceed.

"Some members of council believe we should have a referendum, and there are members of the public that have stated city council was elected to make these decisions based on the relevant information,"  said the mayor, noting that the decision for a referendum will be up to council.

If a referendum is decided upon, Mussallem said the timing could come down to whether or not councillor Jennifer Rice becomes the North Coast MLA in May and whether or not she steps down from council should she win.

"If we were to have a by-election some time this year, we could possibly include a referendum to reduce the costs associated with it. We'll have to wait and see," he said.

"Other than that a proposed referendum, if council decides to proceed that way, would take place with the next municipal election in October or November of 2014."

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