Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holy Bejezus

I was almost speechless when I read about the City finances in today's SP. A 275% increase in debt over three years! On the horizon is a 300 million dollar bridge, 30+ million more for a destination centre on River Landing, the continuance of the 25th Street project ($ unknown), moving the bus barns ($ unknown), 3rd Avenue rejuvenation ($ unknown), the library 50 million, police station 100+ million, transit mall 7 million and only the incumbents know what else is pending. Add to that the ever-increasing infrastructure charges that come on utility bills. Operating costs will increase to maintain these facilities and, unlike debt that can be paid off, operating costs are eternal and growing.

Meanwhile we will in all likelihood get a per bag charge on garbage, core areas will remain concerned about lead leeching into drinking water, streets and boulevards will continue to decay and day-to-day services will take a backseat to mega projects.

The fact that five incumbents refused to answer the question on future tax increases was in fact an answer. Three of the incumbents are already seated and at least two look good for re-election. Add to that the one challenger in Ward 4 (Sean Shaw), who also refused to answer, means, if he is elected, the majority vote for increases is established.

Recently I had a councillor say to me that Standard & Poors gave the city a good credit rating. Yeah, but Standard & Poors also gave Lehman Bros a good rating before its collapse.

As much I enjoy some of the development I think its time to start pacing the spending. We are going to be taxed out of this city. Further spending on River Landing should be suspended until such time as there is tax revenue from the site to pay for whatever else might be wanted. Instead of 55 million for a new art gallery go back to the one million dollar development plan we already paid for and do the expansion at less than half the cost.

While I'm ranting as much as I appreciate city employees, especially firefighters, an 18% contract increase is not acceptable during a recession.

And I hate acclamations because I can't vent my opposition to what is happening with a vote.

26 comments:

  1. well put mistress. the city has been swept up in dream of becoming a big city like the calgarys, vancouvers and all. the rapid growth we have seen has gone to the heads of councilors who now think that we need all the amenities of those big cities.

    what ever happened to sustainable growth? i am all for growing as a city but let's tackle one project at a time. this reminds me of person who starts a new job and immediately thinks they need all the new clothes, car, house and toys to go with it.

    to pay for all this our property taxes will go through the roof, add that onto increased utilities by the city and income taxes and most saskatchewan families will find themselves with almost no discretionary income.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to agree that spending is getting out of hand, but... maybe it is a matter of catch-up for years of council not making any moves on many needed projects and bad city planning. Oh and no I don't need a "certified city planner" as my mayor! What we need is a council that will get things done and I see that happening now. I thought many of these projects were to be paid for by future revenue.. Always a tough call when now one knows what the future holds. As for the Gallery shelve the move and get the job done at the existing site. I don't need more public non tax paying entities on River landing. The increase to employee groups would have been necessary if we kept the boom going. I haven't had an increase in years in my wage but still manage to find our city a steal of a deal. I just talked to someone who went to a WHL game in Calgary (remember they are suppose to be hurting in Alberta) and they paid $12parking, $35/ticket, $44 for a 18" pizza $8.00/beer Total bill for 2 people to watch a bunch of kids play hockey PRICELESS well almost$150+ OUCH!! Saskatoon/Regina $0parking $18/ticket maybe $20 for pizza and $6.00/beer. TOTAL $70. This is only one example. I can handle some increases but what I can't handle are mistakes that are costly like not having enough lanes on the Circle Drive bridge to start with. If people can't afford to live in the city than it is time to move to the burbs. Vanscoy would love the business.

    As for acclamations those in the ward where they happen have only themselves to blame. What gets me is if your acclaimed you don't answer a question because you are scared? of what re-election in three years.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the Atch and his such great leadership!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks also to rest of council including all the left and right wingers who made the decisions along with the Atch.

    And thanks in advance to the winner of tomorrow's election (Lenore or Atch) for their future bad decision making.

    Man is it easy to criticize the decisions of others.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What is amazing to me are people only want to blame the Mayor for what happens on Council and in the city when in fact he is only one vote. Now he's not one to shy away from taking all the credit either. You're right one must look at each councilor's voting record to get a real picture of who is doing a good job in your own opinion, but its not tough to criticize councilors that won't answer questions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here we go again...

    Poor 'ol Atch is only one vote. We can't blame Tiny Atch for this incredible mismanagement of the city.

    Well, if the mayor is just one little vote, perhaps he shouldn't get paid well over double what a councillor makes and get the big corner office.

    Fact of the matter is it was Atch's leadership that brought this city to the financial devastation it is in today.

    Some leader.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Atch has no issue taking full responsibility for all the good that happens in the city even if he was opposed to it from the start. So it is only fair that Atch take the bad as well. Lets also remember this past council was run largely by a group of conservatives and we paid for it with a major deficit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been following http://atchdd.blogspot.com on this. It's freaking scary - we're approaching our legal debt limit for the city.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I blame Charlie Clark for the mismanagement of the city funds. Bring back the Mistress and toss these left wing socialists who demand to spend our money on every single stupid program around....expensive curbside recycling run by the government when there are private firms doing it cheaper and better hahahaha what a joke.

    If none of Anon left wingers who keep posting here truly believe that the city cannot properly handle money, why do they insist on charging the city with another financial burden by running a recycling program that in all likelihood no one at city hall has any idea where to begin? Another expensive government intervention when there already is a perfectly good business handling the duties right now, how typically Saskatchewan of us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You know I hate people that flog their own blogs on someone else's sight. What's freaky scary is that Lenore Swynstun won't say what she would do different. What project would she have halted? What company does she have in her back pocket to pick up the tab for River Landing? Other than the Mendel I don't know of any project she has said she would have canceled. Her ideas on social housing, recycling etc. would put us into just as much debt. She must also bear some of the responsibility for where we are now as many of these projects were on the books when she sat on council. Oops right she got booted last time and she will be booted again. So I know Atch sells suits and what's Lenore selling these days? She says she is a planning consultant would that be the same as a wedding planner?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Do you have any idea about long-term planning?

    The land fill is practically overflowing. It's a hell of a lot cheaper to get full-fledged recycling going now to divert waste and extend the life of the landfill, plus it is environmentally responsible.

    I would hardly call city-wide recycling as "how Saskatchewan." Saskatoon and Regina are the only cities NOT doing it. It's not the city that can't handle money - it's "mismanagement Atch" who can't.

    Crawl out of your cave and face the 21st century.

    ReplyDelete
  12. a socialist telling a conservative to crawl out of their cave to face the new century? Aren't Saskatchewan 'CAVES' occupied by the Citizens Against Virtually Everything? The same group of idiots who voted against the downtown casino that would have provided some much needed revenue to downtown area.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The city is not equipped to handle a recycling program. Plus your rationale that the rest of Canada is doing it is not very sound. The rest of Canada does not allow one government monopoly on car insurance or allow just one option for us to choose our energy from. In case you haven't noticed we do things differently in Saskatchewan, you can't have the good without the bad. So if you really want to argue we should be like the rest of Canada then let's open this Motha up for business and get rid of the government run monopolies. Then we can have a free market and recycling.....everyone wins!!! right?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh so what's the estimate on a publicly funded recycling program! If there was a profit to be made someone would be already doing it. Oh wait isn't there a company called Blue Box. Well maybe they aren't city wide. I've never seen those boxes in the inner city neighborhoods could it be because you have to pay for that service "Out of your pocket" not through property taxes. Saskatchewan doesn't have the population to make it viable. Remember it isn't the gathering that is the problem it's what do you do with it after folks. Ask yourselves how much energy is expended in the full process. I don't agree with the "we must recycle to save for future generations" attitude. That assumes future generations won't be able to deal with the problems they will face. Talk about taking helicopter parenting to the nth degree. Every generation has had to deal with some type of problem and as far as I can see we are still on this planet and dealing with it. Maybe we could bring Al Gore and his buddies in to give us an inspirational talk about recycling, now there's a guy that can make a buck off scaring people.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What happened to the concept of 'living within our means' Spending sprees without any certain means of generating revenues to pay for these projects is simply irresponsible!
    But given the extent of voter apathy in our city one wonders if anyone gives a darn. Oh but we can be certain we will hear their voices once their taxes rise..

    ReplyDelete
  16. What happened to conservative values? Why is a conservative run city council running such high debt?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Maybe because the have to appease the socialist voices on council who vote for every stupid program despite the cost of it?

    ReplyDelete
  18. So conservatives lack the ethics and morals to stand up for what they believe in despite having the majority of votes on council?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Perhaps the conservatives have made the proper long term choices in investing in the much needed infrastructure to maximize the growth the city is undergoing.

    In case you backwards thinking hippies haven't noticed the Province is booming and Saskatoon is well on its way to us seeing a 400,000 population (with surrounding area) in our lifetime (if not more). As a city on the move it is time to be proactive (even if it means taking on a little debt) in preparing for where we are going rather than simply standing by and dealing with problems when they creep up.

    Downtown.... needed to be fixed. Police Station..... need an expanded, more modern and upgraded facilities (and perhaps staff too!) Library.... going to need a more appropriate one once city has grown. Get the point? These are all issues that need to be addressed if the city ever hopes to make that leap of faith to a progressive growing centre. I applaud the current council for their proactive nature, and while it means more debt now it is coming at a fraction of the cost it would have if left until it was absolutely necessary. Good for Atch and hopefully he holds on to his job today.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think it is pretty ignorant to make a broad based statement about a particular group lacking ethics or morals. If you disagree try putting a few other groups into that sentence other than conservatives and

    So NATIVE AMERICANS lack the ethics and morals to stand up for what they believe in

    So HOMOSEXUALS lack the ethics and morals to stand up for what they believe in

    Get the point, when you make a broad based statement that generalizes a particular group it takes away your credibility. It is like someone saying, "socialists lack common sense". Quit with the personal attacks at conservatives.

    There are conservative councilors who do lack morals or ethics (looking at Bev Dubois) and there are certain socialist councilors who lack commmon sense (looking at Charlie Clark).

    And are you advocating that minority voices should have no say in the political sphere? That Conservatives when in power should not work with Liberals/NDP to incorporate their ideas? Seeing the 'majority' incorporate some of the policies of the 'minority' makes for good leadership by providing well rounded policies (as opposed to either excessively right or left wing policies, balance is good).

    ReplyDelete
  21. What is the excuse conservatives have for running on fiscal responsibility but allowing for such a major increase int he cities debt?

    ReplyDelete
  22. If you are the majority bloc on council quit blaming the minority for the poor decisions you make!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Typical left wing, avoid answering the questions posed to you and answer questions with other questions.

    Try owning up to some of the questions asked. No wonder socialists never accomplish anything all they do is sit around asking questions and commenting about how everyone else is doing it wrong.

    Put down the doobie, get off welfare and contribute a little to society. Zero ability to answer questions.....what an embarrassment you are Anon.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Talk about stereoptypical comments. The conservatives are fiscally responsible...what a joke!
    The lefties are welfare bums..another joke!
    Can you people not discuss issues in an intellegent civl manner!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hmmm.
    Socialist vs Conservative
    Check the voting record folks they all voted for borrowing at one point or another over the last three years

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a sad, mindless exercise in name-calling this blog has become. That this is the level of political discourse in this city is not something of which to be proud.

    Voters will always get what they deserve.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.