Friday, March 25, 2011

Is the scale wrong?

The phrase "economy of scale" generally means the higher the volume the lower the cost.

Our province reportedly has hit a record high for population (SP Mar. 25/11.) Saskatoon is the fastest growing of the cities. Is it unreasonable to think that with more people sharing the tax burden of operating and developing the city that taxes should, if not go down, at least not go up?

On more than one occasion I have heard elected and city officials say that increased taxation is necessary due to the rapid growth of the city. Don't all these new taxpayers contribute to the tax purse? Shouldn't all this new tax money off-set the growing costs?

It can't be from the expansion of city limits and the infrastructure required for new neighbourhoods as the city's Land Bank operates by using the sales of previous lands to pay for the development of new lands. It is re-circulated money - unless of course the course that council has stripped those reserves.

Weigh in on these questions please.


  1. Great question Mistress. I have wondered this myself. I have given up trying to make sense of anything that comes from City Hall.

    I don't think anyone in Administration or on Council currently (save for the two newbies who have yet to make their mark) have any sort of vision beyond next week.

    Listening to the Admin talk about the projects around town, repairs, programs everyone seems to be battling to keep their heads above water for another day.

    Very soon this City is going to find out that building everything that anybody wants is not feasible. We are going to be in economic shambles in a decade from everything Atch has done.

    Then again, it pales in comparison to the laugh I get when I think about our CPP that I contribute to every month and will be bankrupt by the time I ever get around to retirement.

    So much to be frustrated with, so little time...

  2. I've come full circle on this on issue. I used to get angry over all the ridiculous spending and projects that Atch has undertaken to stroke his enormous ego. Now I just rationalize that Comrade Pat and her loyal communists will soon have a majority on council.

    If there is one thing I have learned from the communists in the past is that they hate spending money on anything other than social programs. Good luck trying to get them to build a bridge, art gallery or water park. If there is one red cent available it will go to poorest and neediest of society. The communists don't think it is good practice to reward the spine of the tax base with a program or project to thank them for their money. Nope, every little cent will go to the distraught.

    So we may as well build as much as we can and get as many projects approved for the middle class before Comrade Pat and her Communists overtake council and ensure that no one in Saskatoon gets anything until poverty, hunger and homelessness is solved.

    By the way, Comrade Pat and her Communists believe they can be the first people in any jurisdiction in the history of the world to solve these problems. Of all the great thinkers that have blessed this earth the Councillors of Saskatoon will solve this eternal problem.

    Enjoy the spending Mistress, in a year or two you will be lamenting the lack of any project for which the bulk of society is able to enjoy.

  3. The reason that a higher population causes higher taxes levied by municipalities is due to the capital costs incurred.

    If you have 5000 new families move into the city and they need new accomodations, the capital costs of all the infrastructure, from water/sewer, roads and civic services like a fire stations need to be built. Sure, the city recoups capital costs from developers of new neighbourhoods but new residents cause additional stresses to the infrastructure and services throughout the city. Over time these new residents will pay taxes to cover these costs but it's not an immediate happening.

    However, having said all of that. The reason municipal taxes are going through the roof is that the city doesn't know the difference between a need and a want. We don't NEED a new Victoria Bridge. We NEED to be prepared to keep viable for the long term all of the other 3 bridges serving the downtown while planning for a new north bridge.

    We don't NEED a new $40 million Art Gallery. As much as an Art Gallery adds to the quality of life of citizens, wouldn't a more modest renovation of the existing facility do very well.

    We don't NEED mandatory curbside recycling. There are now 2 private companies offering the service. If you want it, get it.

    We don't NEED most of the city's green initiative. These green projects and standards are very expensive and mostly symbolic. Thankfully our leaders turned down going for LEED certification of a public swimming pool. It would have taken about 180 years for the upfront costs to be paid back to the taxpayer.

    Do you want to bet as to whether or not a wind mill at the landfill will be a paying proposition?

    Don't get me started on the new police station!

    I'm all for setting up Saskatoon for the next century but can't we do it OVER the century.

  4. Drop the rhetoric withe the Victoria Bridge not being needed. If that is the case then neither is the Broadway or University Bridge. Why do we need more than one bridge anyways?

    Convert Broadway and University Bridges to walking only and let's let the vehicle's be restricted to Idywyld only.

  5. The money for replacing the Victoria Bridge can be better put elsewhere in building needed city infrastructure. There is absolutely no evidence that the Victoria Bridge is neccessary to transportation in the city.

    The Victoria Bridge has been closed for months. I cross the river a few times every day and don't see any difference between when it was open and now. The Victoria Bridge is just like an old school that should have been closed years ago but people just can't let it go and insist on expensive renovations rather than traveling a bit and going to a newer more modern school.

    We are a city of about 250,000 which will be serviced by 5 bridges once the south span is completed and you think that it's essential to have 4 bridges feeding the downtown core?

    It's not only city council who can't tell the difference between a NEED and a want. Apparently at least you don't understand the distinction as well.


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