Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Too bad there were only three wise men

When Council was developing and "trimming" the budget, one of the items cut back on was funding for the bridge reserve. It should be a concern given the issues with the Traffic Bridge and the fact that the University and Broadway bridges are nearing the end of their lifespans and may require significant funding. I thought this was a short-sighted decision.

Today's SP (Dec. 21/10) reports that the Buckwold Bridge came in $1.3 million over budget due to unforeseen deterioration. No one is shocked. What is shocking is that Council plans to cover this expenditure from the bridge reserve that doesn't have $1.3 million in it and that this over-budget item will strip the reserve until 2016. In essence, the savings account is in a deficit position for five or six years. I'm not sure what accounting practice sanctions overdrafts/deficits on savings accounts. What will happen with the other bridges over the next half a decade should they need unexpected maintenance or repair?

I'm not sure whether the City contracts out its bridge inspections or whether it is done in-house. Given the situation with the Traffic Bridge , and now the Buckwold Bridge, I am suspect of those doing the inspections. I hear the Pink Panther theme playing in my head.

Regrettably three wise men do not form a majority position on Council.


  1. Sorry to disagre with you Mistress but as a long term resident of Saskatoon I really don't want to contribute to a reservr on an asset I have already payed for so that future citizens can have a free ride while I may have payed twice or even three times for same asset. Let the future reidents pay for the future needs and repairs to their inherited asset.

  2. My my what forward thinking Anon 11:02, let the future residents pay for something as opposed to now. I don't suppose you plan on reimbursing the past generations that built all the current infrastructure that you enjoy today?

    What about the homeless? If the future can pay for themselves, why not the homeless and poverty stricken?

    Even further screw the environment. That isn't our problem, that is the future's problem as well. So why bother spending money to recycle when we can just throw it in the river. That is a double whammy, the people in the future can deal with the river pollution and the people downstream can deal with our floating garbage.

    Ya you're right, society would be so much better off if we all just lived in the minute and said screw the future. I'd hope that you are a senior because based on projections and current knowledge one or both the bridges will be needing replacement or significant repair in the next decade or so. So you'll likely still be around when that bill comes.

    Re the Mistress post, this is alarming to say the least. How can we drain a future reserve fund, plus cut the funding to that fund simply to artificially lower the budget.

    It has all the appearances that Council is simply cooking the books at City Hall, and the smell emanating from the Mayor's office is particularly foul.

  3. I dont like the sounds of it either. But name something that you would like to see cut out of the budget instead. Please refrain from using the Mendel and River Landing in your answer. Those two are too easy for some people to use in their arguments.

  4. I think you are missing a simple concept here. The city is paying on lay a way for the bridge repairs and river landing, so in essence we aren't paying for it. We are paying for interested on it and passing the cost along to future generations.

    What would I like to see cut from the budget? Well since City Hall has happily spent our money all year, maybe let's cut the amount of raises going to civic employees for starters. Next let's eliminate the disaster planning position that we have survived for 100 years without.

    Then let's move on affordable housing. The City SHOULD NOT BE FOOTING THE BILL for that, the Province should. So eliminate that.

    I'd need to see a closer look at the budget for line by line chops. However, it shouldn't be hard once you get started.

    For the record, the Mendel is a rather large and luxurious expense and is the best place to start. Removing that alone should be enough.


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