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An outrageous way to spend $30,000

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Midway through Friday's Penticton Council budget meetings, Coun. Andrew Jakubeit used the tired cliche "silly season" meaning the weeks and months leading up to an election campaign. Midway through Friday's Penticton Council budget meetings, Coun. Andrew Jakubeit used the tired cliche "silly season" meaning the weeks and months leading up to an election campaign.
If pre-election campaigning is 'silly' what we just witnessed on Friday was downright insane.
It's expected that the 200 block of Martin Street (and part of Westminster Ave.) will be revitalized in 2014 and in order to better "communicate" with the property owners on those two blocks, Council committed $30,000 in its budget which includes $20,000 for a business liaison contract exclusive to that project plus an extra $5,000 in signage.
"Communication is necessary," said Coun. Wes Hopkin.
"You can never undervalue communication and advice," trumpeted Coun. Judy Sentes.
Councillors John Vassilaki and Helena Konanz were the voices of reason. Both noted the recent hiring of a communications officer. They added it's the job of the Downtown Penticton Association to keep its members up to date. Vassilaki even
suggested bylaw officers could inform the public as to what's going on.
"We have to watch our pennies," Vassilaki said. "We're not Kelowna. We're not Kamloops. We're little Penticton with a small tax base with a lot of senior citizens who will have to pay for this."
Konanz was even more blunt describing it as "a waste of taxpayers' money."
Unfortunately, nobody listened to them. Council approved the expenditure by a 5-2 vote.
We can't help but wonder if they have a person or company in mind for the contract. This appears to be a make-work project for somebody.
We suggest that keeping the property owners in the loop is as simple as obtaining a list of e-mail addresses and having the project manager send an e-mail blast at the start of each week.
How much good work could be done for our seniors, children, disabled or homeless with $30,000?
If Council wants to help the owners who will experience a drop in business during the construction period, the $30,000 should go towards the project itself to make sure the work is done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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