For lack of anything more appealing in council chambers, cheap amusements cannot be discounted, such as at the self-abasing "quiver" in a grown woman's voice when garbage activist Teresa Rutten of London rattles to politicians that
"We're transitioning at a very frightening rate to bottled water from municipal water. Why are we not raising the bar and becoming a zero-waste culture?"Passion in the service of trifles, or trifles in the service of passion? One would have to stoop quite low to discover whether there is a distinction, but no less abasing is it than when London's Environment and Transportation Committee suffers a "harsh debate" over a proposal to ban the sale of bottled water at city-owned facilities, although with less quiver and amusement. One would have to stoop just as low to discover the consequences of such an action, either to its material purpose or the Committee's reputation.
Even if the impacts of such a ban on landfills or "behaviours" are predictably negligible, the less abstract proposition of money may be guiding politicians who are finding that water conservation is "killing" municipal revenues across the province, even as cities drastically hike rates — 86 per cent for combined water and sewer charges in London since 2000.
A little more tap water in drinking glasses may be a small fix for spending-addicted municipal leaders, but after building permit values in London saw the second-largest May-to-June decline among Canadian cities — -60.1 per cent — grasping at trifles might end up being all that keeps the drip going for local politicians used to expansion of the assessment base to mitigate the unpleasantness of having to collect for the effects of promiscuous spending growth. Settle in for a damp winter when next year's budget deliberations begin.
Prospects for assessment growth and tax increases
Decline in assessment growth may expose London's lack of fiscal discipline
Assessment growth: stealth taxation