Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Sewers were neglected in favour of the JLC

The sewers are crumbling, the roads are treacherous, the debt enormous and Board of Control throws away half a million dollars to augment the facade.

Controllers approved up to $500,000 be spent on a plan to improve customer service at city hall that will begin by surveying people who use city services.
This city is doomed. Residents of London Ontario have been subject to bad governance for 150 years and will be until the town falls into ruins:
Yesterday, board of control and a bare minimum number of councillors sitting in committee of the whole approved the 9.6-per-cent hike that will add $34 to the average sewer bill, pushing it up to $395 a year.

They also approved a five- per-cent ($16) increase in water rates, upping the yearly bill to $330.

"The recommendation we're making now, I think, is the responsible one," said budget chief Tom Gosnell. "The alternative is worse because taxpayers would be paying far more in the future."

With only 10 of 19 council members at the meeting, Controller Russ Monteith stood alone in opposing the rate hike.

"I appreciate the argument staff makes, and the only other option would be to find that money somewhere else," Monteith said.

"I still haven't heard where the money would come from if we reduce the rate, but I thought it would be better to oppose it now and change my mind later."
But maybe it would be better to support it now and oppose it later? Who knows? Only 53% of our elected representatives showed up for the vote. Perhaps they were at the mall seeking public input?

Staff said they could bring the proposed hike to 7.6 per cent.

"But anything you do to reduce the rate this year will have a dramatic impact in future years because you'll have to make it up," said Ron Standish, the city's director of waste water and treatment.

A 20-year plan unveiled this year says the city must spend upward of $1 billion to repair, upgrade and expand its sewer system, mostly due to neglect by city councils at budget time.

The plan calls for double-digit sewer rate increases in 2007 through 2010 to finance the debt on repairs and to make the system self-sustaining -- independent of property tax dollars -- as required under provincial law.

Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco backed staff's request.

"It makes no sense trying to help taxpayers this year and then hiking it even more next year," she said. "It's a fact we have not invested in sewers for years."

Staff also said the city's triple-A credit rating is tied to the 20-year plan.
When we stop to consider the demands upon council and city staff, as they debate how best to spend stolen money, over breakfast, lunch and dinner, also paid for with stolen money, it should become clear that five years is not nearly enough time to achieve equality and prosperity for all. 20 years is a much more realistic goal. Paul Martin needs more time too.