Thursday, October 21, 2010

A little bit weary I suppose. How are you?

It's always something isn't it?
If work life is going well, then something has to come up in the personal life to screw it up or vice-versa.
In my situation if personal and work are going well then something is guaranteed to arise in the political side to tick me off.
And then sometimes when some negative stars are lined up in just the proper way things go screwy in more than one aspect at once.
I'm certain you know what I mean.
These things have a dramatic effect on my desire and enthusiasm to write a blog post.
I'm at one of those points right now where those stupid stars are working against me and posting is a bit of a chore.

But please allow me to whine for a few minutes.

I'm not going into it too much but I now have to drive an extra 1000 kilometers and 10 hours a week to get to work. And I don't get reimbursed at all for that.

Back when my casual position term with the province was ending they posted two new positions for terms of 3 years for the Fredericton and Woodstock offices.
There were three of us after the jobs and I ended up being the second choice.
The first pick took the Fredericton job and basically threw me out of a job that I had already been doing for 2 years in an area that I had finally become properly familiar with.
I'm not going to detail everything that happened but the way it all went down was shady and not fair in my opinion. In the end it boiled down to this or no job for me.
So I'm in my second week at the Woodstock office.
Woodstock is really a very nice office and better for the fact that all of the little chiefs aren't scurrying around here as they are back in Fredericton.
If only the travel wasn't such a pain in the butt.

What really melts my noodles is that I've had to lose a very important part of my day as a result of this.

When I became a Councillor in New Maryland I found that I can't spend as much time with the boys as I had wanted to or had been spending with them before.
To help overcome this we had decided that I would drive the boys to school in the mornings rather than them having to take the school bus.

It’s not much but we have enjoyed this time together in the mornings.
I would drop them off at the school around 7:55 and be at my office by 8:15-8:20.
I called the school and learned that the earliest time that the students are allowed to be at the school is 7:35. I could have possibly done this and got to Woodstock by about 8:30 if I drove quickly.

The boys decided that they would rather not have to sit in the school cafeteria for a half hour before most other kids started to arrive at the school.

So I have had to give up the morning ride with the boys which makes us very unhappy.

I'm finding that it's difficult to be polite and assist the guy who has replaced me to ease him into the job when I really want to tell him to take a flying you-know-what and figure it out on his own.
But perhaps I'm just being a tad bitter?

As for my political escapades it's a long story.
Read this, and keep in mind that it's one side of the story. -

I’ll try to explain but forgive me if I miss something.

Many years ago when the Village was applying for the Infrastructure funds to build the water tower and upgrade the water system it was decided that the village would include upgrading Baker Brook since they had not had any road work done since the Village was incorporated. The roadway was a mess.

Also, the sanitary lagoon that Baker Brook was on has passed the end of its lifespan and something desperately needed to be done.
We have to take the lagoon out of service and modify the sanitary system to flow the other direction and join up with the sewage system that most all other Village homes are on.
By the way, many years ago the residents of Baker Brook were responsible for the upkeep of their sewage lagoon and the Village wasn’t involved.
At some point before I came to New Maryland the residents came to the Village begging that the Village take over the lagoon for them and the responsibility for it.
They realized that it was falling apart and that something had to be done.
The Village did as the residents asked and has been trying to keep the lagoon working properly.
Additionally, it is logical that we put a water main system down the road at the same time while the road is dug up. The watermain is put in at the same time as the sewer line. Ripping up a brand new road to install a water line at a later date is stupid and a waste of tax dollars.
With the extra water capacity that the new water tower will bring it was possible to add Baker Brook onto the water system.
So these things were added into funding request application.

This was the cost of installing the watermain and sanitary modifications that would come from the Infrastructure funding.
I point out here that when the time comes that a watermain is in the plans for my street and the other Village streets not presently on the municipal water there likely won’t be infrastructure funding for it.
We (the residents that will use the water) are going to have to pay the full cost to get it.

That’s a pretty sweet deal that Baker Brook is getting that the rest of us likely won’t.
The Village did a survey of residents a little while back and it was concluded that the focus for the rest of the extra water capacity from the new tower will be made available for the development of new homes rather than existing homes.
This will also broaden our tax base which is badly needed and will help down the road when more work is to be done.

The Infrastructure application was accepted and granted for what we wanted to do.
However, part of the acceptance on the part of the province is the stipulation that anyone who is hooked onto the municipal water system is forbidden from also maintaining a well and must decommission their well.
This was not our rules but Environment. We won’t be policing that part and have no interest.

At least this is what we were told. Last night before the meeting a representative of the Department of Environment went on the news stating that they have no requirement about the wells.
I'm still trying to figure out what that is all about.

The Village bylaw does state that when a water line or sewage line goes by a property the property must hook onto it. That has been the rule for years and is the same in most municipalities.
If a property owner refuses to hook on then the line will be stubbed off at their property line and they must pay an annual fee.
If they hook on now the village will take the line right to the outside wall of the home. If the property owner changes their mind later and wants to hook on they have to pay to take it from the property line to the house.

It was decided that we did not want to be responsible for breaking through the wall in the event that a crack or something occurs and water enters the house (for example) we could be held responsible.
One thing the taxpayers don’t fully realize is the huge amount of money (resident's money) that is wasted defending frivolous and stupid actions that are brought against us. We do win in court but the costs to defend are never recouped.
It was felt that this potential type of claims are best to avoid completely.

I’m going to wrap this up since I could go on forever.

What it boils down to is that the people on Baker Brook are getting a new road (not totally covered by the Infrastructure funding but by Transportation budget), new sewage system and municipal water. Their cost is for the plumber to get the line connected into the house and to decommission their wells. But we don’t care if they do the wells or not. The province does.
Keep in mind that when this is done their house values are going to increase dramatically.

To help the Baker Brook residents with their costs Council proposed to them that we will try to find a plumber to do all of the houses for a volume rate and pay for it with the amounts owed by them put into their accounts as owing to the Village for 2 years with no interest.
The people who can’t afford the amount now will have 2 years to deal with it with no penalty.

Will I be so lucky when the time comes to hook onto the Village water? I don’t know.

This was published a couple of days after the first article.

Last night we had our monthly open Council meeting and the Baker Brook folks were on hand again.

This is what the radio stations reported in their newscasts this morning:

"New Maryland homeowners upset with village council

Homeowners from Baker Brook Court in New Maryland are frustrated and fed up with what they are calling spotty information and poor communication from village's council. As road work is being done, those people are being forced to either connect to the village's water system, or pay a $1,240 fine every year. Homeowner Tim Stewart says most of his neighbours are okay with making the switch. But what has everyone upset is that the old wells must be decomissioned. People were given a letter from the village but are unsure why the wells have to be shut down. About a dozen people from the street attended Wednesday's council meeting and spoke with councilors for over an hour before storming out in frustration. Councilor Paul LeBlanc made a list of other problems raised during the meeting, and says village staff will look into them."

I agree that there has been some issues with the manner and timeliness that they have had their questions answered but I'm having a problem with their attitude that they are getting picked on and how they are making Council out to be nasty and heartless.

As I told them last night, we as Council have to rely on the information provided to us and the expertise of those that are paid for that purpose.
If we are all told something that turns out to be incorrect or was misunderstood by the individual reporting to us we will certainly make sure that every step is taken to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

But what about if one of the people reporting to us is doing everything humanly possible to keep up with a constant barrage of emails and phone calls from a number of residents, PLUS try to continue with the other part of their job which usually fills a work day?
This person is talking to every available source to get all of the answers for the residents as well as Mayor and Council as fast as possible.
How can someone lay an ounce of blame on this person who thought the information was accurate and reported accordingly?

I can't and I won't.

Last night I felt that some who were present were trying to point fingers in that way.

Anyway, I'm stopping here. I'm tired.

Stay well (well! get it?) hardy har har



Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your work troubles I can definately relate.

With respect to political matters, it sounds to me like Judy is the only one listening to the people...

This reminds me of the water meter kerfuffle and the water rate gouging.

Melly said...

It sounds like a lot of the Baker Brook people really have no idea what they're doing and as such, are whining and complaining about what a great deal this is for them because they like to whine and complain.

forestfauna said...

I can understand your work frustration. I worked for DNR on contract for 5 years, I job I loved and I was very good at. In March, a week after my father's funeral, I was pulled into the office and told that even though my work performance had been excellent, that one of the regions did not survive the budget cuts well and lost a full time position. The powers that be (above my boss and his boss's head), looked at what was available and decided that they could do my job. So, after 5 years there, they turned my job permanent-and gave it to someone else. They managed to find another 6 months of contract work for me, but I decided to leave, taking a temporary job with the federal deparment of Fisheries and Oceans. Based out of Moncton but I work from home, which is good, and it is a good job which I enjoy and I like the people I work for. But I'm only on until March, and they have rules on how long a person can work in a department on casual within a calendar year. So I'm still looking.