Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reruns Already?!?

This isn't really a rerun but a toned down version of the post last week that I removed.
This will not happen regularly.
I believe that blogs are the place for anyone and everyone to express their thoughts, opinions and feelings on anything they want, even if I don't agree with them.

I have amended the post to reflect the time passed since the original.

Here you go.

I suppose I have too much time on my hands as I sit here browsing the internet on my BlackBerry.
I still don't know how many folks outside of my friends and family will see this so here I go again with another blast at the Village water issue.
Of special interest is the comments section that have been added online to the Gleaner story.
This portion of one comment amazes me; "his predecessor probably came into cold also. Maybe he shouldn't have run till he was prepared to take on a position of responsibility."

For the record, prior to the 2004 election and my being asked to sit as a public member on the Water and Wastewater Committee it had consisted entirely of the Mayor, all Councillors and Village staff. Councillor Bill O'Donnell was the chair but every Councillor was part of it and had to take responsibility for the decisions.
They all went in cold really.
I wonder why Mr. O'Donnell was not re-elected this year? It certainly was not because of a lack of hard work on his part.
Here is something else to think about.
The major complaint every one of us heard while campaigning was that the roads need to be repaired.
All members of Council agreed that this is a top priority.
Budgets from every part of the Village were shaved in order to push funds to Transportation and reduce the amount of borrowing that would be necessary to do repairs and reconstruction. Reductions came from Recreation, Human Resources. The Fire Department cut their wish list of purchases. Everyone sent money to the roads.
Everyone except Water and Wastewater.
Under the current Municipalities Act the Water and Wastewater have to stand alone.
Funds can't be taken out to go somewhere else and funds can't come in to help finance things.
Heck, we can't even use money taken in by the Wastewater to put to Water, or vice-versa.
So, Transportation has plenty of money for its projects and the residents will never feel an increase for it.
Another comment blasted me with this,
"I find this outburst by Councillor Scammell "laughable" at best. He sat on the Water & Wastewater Committee for 4 years...he knew these rate increases had been discussed at length and that they were going to be necessary. Of course he didn't want to Chair this Committee... everyone wants the committees with all the publicity and feel-good decision-making. It's VERY easy to sit back when you're not on Council and make lots of criticisms and talk about all the things you would do differently. It's a very different perspective once the economic realities hit home when you are a Councillor. Sorry Tim but you can't always just grab the "glory" and if the Village wants a $4.5M reservoir and distribution system, 1/3 of that money MUST be
paid by the Village and it has to come from the rate-payers. It's just the way it is and you knew that for the past four years as did ALL the councillors I might add."

If I could make a tiny correction to this.
I never criticized the Council when I was not on it.
When I was campaigning people would often express their displeasure at the current Council. I would always state that I was not comfortable commenting as I didn't know the discussions behind their decisions.
I did not say that I would do things differently but promised that I would always do my best if given the chance.
Mine was not a negative campaign. I don't like negative campaigns.
To say that I knew for the past 4 years that these rate increases were necessary is not true.
Why are we figuring them out now if we knew what rates were needed 4 years ago?
An $80 per year increase in the water rates to help finance the tower is acceptable. We asked our current public committee members their opinions and they felt this was fair.
However, to double the water rate and continue to provide the same service will raise eyebrows and tempers.
I don't have the full figures with me but Deputy Mayor Wilson-Shee calculated what the residents currently pay per quarter flat rate and what the data was predicting with the proposed meter rate.
She figured that a household was going to approximately double what they pay now.
When I reviewed it again I agreed with her.
It certainly does appear that the commenter has taken a shot at Deputy Mayor
Wilson-Shee by throwing in that last line of the comment.
The commenter has forgotten to mention that even though the Councillors and Mayor likely knew that 1/3 would have to come from the rate payers, they were not informed of how much and to what degree this would be charged to them.
I didn't realize this myself until the Village Treasurer attended the Committee meetings to provide us with the numbers.
When I heard the initial figures I rejected them outright and advised that I was not prepared to accept this proposal or bring it forth for consideration.
I felt that this was not fair or reasonable.
When the treasurer revisited this and came back with lower amounts for a loan taken over a longer term I was still uneasy but have gone along with it.
Councillor Paul LeBlanc was co-chair of the Committee when I was a public member and Bill O'Donnell was Chair. Wouldn't he have been a wiser choice for Water and Wastewater after sitting on that Committee since Day 1?
Councillor LeBlanc chairs the Transportation Committee which looks after the Village roads.
In case you aren't aware, I am a Professional Technologist in Civil Engineering.
For the entire time that I worked in Ontario following College graduation I worked in design, construction and management of roads.
At one time I managed a company that tested the materials being used to assure quality standards were being met.
The Mayor is aware of my background.
Wouldn't these be ideal qualifications to Chair a Transportation Committee?
I wasn't even asked to Co-Chair or even sit on the Committee.
I don't get it, do you?


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