Koehler Looks to Second Term

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 in Media

By Elaine Macdonald  |  Opinion News 250


Tuesday, October 28, 2014 @ 9:34 AM

IMG_1556[1]Prince George, B.C. –  Albert Koehler is seeking a second term on Prince George City Council.

Koehler  has been an advocate for  minimal tax increases and the  elimination of the practice of fluoridating the water supply.

Koehler  says there has been quite a bit of critique on  the hiring of a consultant to  look at snow removal and fleet maintenance “That was a decision by Administration and they have the right to make that decision.”   He says  Council did not have an opportunity to support or  reject the hiring  Mercury Associates  for the $130 thousand dollar  report.

He says the  problem with fleet maintenance,  was “clearly a management problem”.  The fleet maintenance  report  says  more than 50% of the fleet is outdated and needs to be replaced.

“Maintenance is not just repairing machinery  anymore\’ says Koehler “We threw hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix machinery that should have been replaced long ago.”

He says he often feels he  has not been given  all the information a councillor should  have  in order  to do the  job as the governing  body.

“I don’t like to micro manage, but the important things that affect all of us in Prince George, I would like to know.”

A former member of the Prince George Symphony, he says  he supports the Performing Arts centre, but not at this time, “You look at 50, 60 million dollars,  who wants to go into debt for that kind of money, we can’t do it.  We have to look at the needs first,  I call it essential services,  roads, snow and such.”

He says  he cannot see a Performing Arts Centre coming to fruition in the next four years.

Koehler  says  he has advocated last year, and this year, that any potential tax increase  should not be higher than the cost of living.  He says with the increases in user fees, boosting taxes  is, in his words, a double whammy  “Our taxes have increased over the past ten years by 50% and that’s not right.”

He says  the  draft  budget   which proposed a  2.5% hike was not what he  expected,  as he had hoped the  budget would by closer to 1.8%  “I had asked  if we could provide all the services at 1.8% and the answer was yes, so I am not happy with this.”

He says the storm utility  is “garbage, it’s another tax grab.  we have to look at the money we have and do it better.”  He says the increases in  taxes plus the increases in other  services would put the  increase by about 3.5%. “We have to be leaner, not meaner.”  He says business  works with the money it has,  and  the city has  to learn to do the same “They aren’t used to that.”

Social housing is a provincial matter says Koehler, “But we  should do what we can do.”  He says  there needs to be a strategy,  communication, common sense and can-do,   “And that gets you as far as you can,  we have to have that around the Council table.”