"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday 3 October 2013

Pearls of Wisdom . Or A Handful of Ball Bearings

The interim report on service levels is taking more than reading  a couple of times to mke sense of the figures.

Bradford West Gwullimbury and Fort Erie are the only two municipalities  with higher per capita cost
for municipal services.

Bradford West Gwillimbury is not a municipality within a Region.  Last  I heard,  police service is their responsibility. That;s a big expense that doesn't show in our per capita  cost because cost for policing is at the regional level. Bradford also has a Court House  which may r may not mean extra cost for security.

I have a call in to speak to Jay Currier, the CAO.

I spoke to someone in Fort Erie today.They have a population of 30,000. They are in Niagara Region.
They have a Volunteer Fire Brigade . In  Aurora Fire Protection costs over $ 7 million . How can we have less per capita cost for service than Fort Erie  when we are carrying  a heavy burden  that they are not.

It's  not included in the per capita cost of services. Because  we have a contract with Newmarket to provide the service. But we pay for it in our taxes . Why is it not included?

Same thing with the library.  Taxes provide the  revenue to pay for the service.

The question was asked;  why are they not included ? The answer did not register.

Recreation Services  are identified as most expensive. But that's not accurate. Recreation  programs  recover, I think ,75% of their cost.  The Clerk tells me , more than most municipalities.

The  $400,000 grant and $150,000 maintenance bill for Church Street School is included the cost of recreation. No revenue  is collected for  rent or user fees . It's a contract for service. Why  is it not  excluded like Library  and  Fire protection.

I will continue to read,  seek out  answers and bring forward delicious little  fragments of  *contra-indices in the study .

I will keep you posted as I go.

It will be my pleasure.

In an odd little juxtaposition during the meeting , one of the consultants volunteered the information ,
apropos of nothing, that museum's enjoy  only 2%  support from the public.

Yet the main presenter made no reference to  hundreds of thousands of dollars handed out to a faceless Culture Board and free  maintenance and use of a facility  that  cost millions of  capital dollars to provide.

* consultant lingo.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've hit the mother-lode. Try not to let the jargon & weasel words trip you up. The people who write this stuff just fill in the appropriate blanks. The new Old-Boys/Girls Network.

Anonymous said...

I believe there are a couple of accountants who read your Blog. We hear nothing from one, which is a blessing. Perhaps the other[s] might get in touch off the Blog to help you with this report ? Sorry, I'm useless.

Anonymous said...

We lived for years just north of Bradford. They do not have the level of entitlement we see here. And they are building like crazy, as fast as they can so services are heavily required. It cost them more because they are doing more. Whole different ball of wax.

Anonymous said...

Possibly Constable Horton of the RCMP might consider conducting an investigation into Aurora's service levels and whether the taxpayers are receiving value for money.

He would not be free until he wraps up his investigation into the spending habits of several errant Senators.

Possibly he, or his service, could recommend someone.

Anonymous said...

Aurora's requirements for customer service are penny ante. Like we sure see people lining up for a permit to put in an addition. Not. This is one of Councillor Humfryes' hobby-horses- mention 'stake-holders' and she is all for the proposal. The word 'need ' is always emphasized. We ' need ' the software, we ' need ' the communications upgrade, we 'need' more accessibility to the service desks. Bunk

Anonymous said...

By the looks of your many contributors ,it seems that the political dissatisfaction monitor is about to explode, what's your take on the situation ,could there be another political cleansing brewing ??

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear. Ballard has 'discovered ' that a councillor 'works ' for a golf course. Going to try out conflict of interest in that stupid tree by=law dispute.

Anonymous said...

I don't know all the details about the new sideway being built on the east and north side of Industrial Dr. north of Engelhard Drive but perhaps some more thought should have gone into it before they started laying the forms and pouring the concrete.

If you look at the area north of the old Hydro building and across from the old police station, walkway is broken up with starts & stops by a hydro pole guide wire and by a 2 foot drop of a gully. (You can actually see where this would be on Google Maps street view. It's as if they laid it out on the drawing with a 6 foot offset from the street curb and never visited the street in person to see it's effect. So the contractor is simply going ahead. (or are they then going to move the guidewire and come back again to pour more concrete?) (Are they going to fill that gully to put a sidewalk in?)

I have no idea what it's going to look at the building beside Sheppard's Bush and along Sheppard's Bush with the boulevard trees and hydro posts along the area where a side walk could be. There are also trees along the boulevard at Sheppard's bush. What are they going to do transplant them? Did anyone actually survey the site before going ahead with this area or at least walk along the road. Did any councillors do the same? Is the town going to be plowing these sidewalks during the winter?

This is ridiculous.

Someone should be going out there to re-think this one!

Is this the level of service we can expect in Aurora.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, 06:35? Exactly how "many contributors" are there on this blog, do you think? How many eligible voters in Aurora? I think we're looking at less than a pee's worth of liquid in an Olympic-sized pool.

Anonymous said...

Christopher was unable to resist that Report. Makes uncomfortable reading for some, I expect. Me, I quite enjoyed his work.

Anonymous said...

Once again you have arm-chair engineers (09:47) looking at a project in mid-flight and claiming that it is all wrong.

Without benefit of the statement of work, drawings, etc. you are not in a position to be a critic of a job until it's done.

Of course, Google Maps is a great resource... kind of like Wikipedia that some other bloggers use as the bible of information.

The google map street view of my house shows a tree that fell down 3 years ago!

Anonymous said...

To 12:21 from 09:47
Did I say it was all wrong? No, those are your words.

I have driven down Industrial Parkway a couple of times this week and probably will need to again this weekend so I am observant of my surroundings. I referenced Google Maps (which I agree is not always up to date as it certainly can't be for everything as change is inevitable) so that at least others would have an idea of what I was talking about. And indeed the guidewire and gully are evident for others to see on Google Maps if you haven't driven by lately.

Have you driven by there lately?

I agree in part to your comment "without benefit of the statement of work, drawings, etc. you are not in a position to be a critic of a job until it's done". The problem perhaps is that the statement of work is not publicly available so far as I can tell (without paying the $75 bid fee as the bid was not electronically available on biddingo.) I can still be a critic of the work before it is done if the statement and the drawings and/or engineering is wrong to begin with. If that was the case then the contractor is simply building to plan be it that he was given the wrong plans - nothing to his/her fault.

Perhaps you can direct me to this information. The online Council minutes of July 16, 2013 give the Town report IES13-039 showing the contract awarded for this work of 1425 metres of sidewalk from Van Dorf to Industry St. to be $545,535.00 So that's $382 per metre of sidewalk. Wow... without other references that sounds like a lot of money to me for a kilometre and a half of sidewalk. We're talking sidewalk here not road. That's 1/2 percent of the total $52 million Aurora budget. The Town report doesn't include any drawings others than a thick line on a general map.

If I wait to comment until after the work is done, it may be too late. The job is done, the money is spent and the contractor did the work as per his instructions from the Town.

I certainly hope my observations are wrong and if anyone can provide information as to how these sidewalks are going to be build it would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. At least if your tree fell down you didn't need a permit - other than perhaps to get it cleared out.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that if you go to the Town Hall & ask politely, they will let you see the plans. These should be have enough detail to allow you to figure out what is happening at this stage. It is bound to be a mess but there will be certain requirements written into the contract. A performance bond will be in place.
Why we are doing so much side-walking along Industrial is another matter altogether. One that Council decided.

Anonymous said...

No. No one wants Council to fail. They are just disgustipated with the early electioneering posturing & wasted time & money on non-essentials. Like trees & poles. There is a lot of time left in this term.

Anonymous said...

To 12:21 from 09:47

I posted an earlier response to your comment but I don't know if Evelyn received it.

Regardless, speaking about trees I did drive by Sheppard's Bush tonight and I'm glad you pointed out the info about your tree and Google's street view.

I see now they have cut down the small boulevard trees on the east side of Industrial along Sheppard's Bush to make way for the sidewalk. But you can still see them on Google Maps. I guess these trees don't matter when they belong to the Town. Where's the tree by-law when you need it?