"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

Tuesday 10 May 2016


I have a confession to make.

 I don't watch Council or  General Committee meetings. 

From 2003/2013, I sat through thousands of hours of talk that led nowhere, accomplished 
nothing and  made no sense .Enough  already.

Voices  and faces have changed , vacuous, meaningless verbiage continues. 

A particular exchange between myself , Ilmar Simavskis Director of Environment and Infrastructure (Public Works) and Chief Financial Officer Dan Elliott early in 2011  repeated each year , dealt with exorbitant annual increases in water rates. 

Every year, a million dollar contract was awarded to cut water loss. Every year, water losses were reported higher than the year before.

There were other anomalies in the water and sewer rates bill. Sewage treatment rates  had to 
match water consumption and those rates were  calculated accordingly. 

Third item on the bill ,termed miscellaneous ,was charged only to those receiving a water bill. 

Properties on wells and septic tanks therefore did not share the cost for storm water pond maintenance and other incidentals also increased exorbitantly. 

The first of four years of increases saw rates increase 100%. That was the intention. 

I asked for a record of water breaks to establish a record of water loss. No report was forthcoming. The directors explained  to Mr. Garbe ,they did not wish to comply because they were afraid I would use the information inappropriately. 

Like I might share the information. 

They were not required to comply.

Mayor Dawe ,newly elected, declared water to be the "best bargain" In municipal services.

No other Councillor displayed any  interest in the conflicting accounts. 

Municipal treasurers within the Region meet  and decide amongst themselves what the rates will be. 

This story has many twists and turns.

Surfing the channels to-night , I caught Councillor Michael Thompson speaking. He was addressing a question to Director Simanovskis ,who was smiling broadly as if enjoying a joke.

The Councillor wanted to know why the town was awarding millions on contracts to cut water loss 
while every year, water loss  increases. 

The initial explanation was ...the difference between water supplied by the Region and water metered as having been consumed had to be calculated as water loss. No further explanation was possible. 

The explanation varies somewhat from the one received six years ago. 

The town gives an estimate of consumption. The charge  is based on the estimate of consumption. Whether consumed or not, that is the estimate is the amount that must be paid. 

The rest is water loss. 

While the second explanation makes as much sense as the first. 

But one thing is the same,Councillor Thompson is now the only Councillor expressing interest in the anomaly of the price charged for water and of course attendant sewer rates and actual water used. 
Water meters are installed to measure water used but water used does not relate to the rate charged.

Ironically, a private sector monopoly supplier of service must apply for authority to increase rates for service. To receive permission, a government regulatory agency holds a public hearing to be satisfied the increase can be justified. 

No such requirement for municipalities in York Region. Officials can simply smile  and say....No Councillor , there is no explanation I can give you. 

Price  just keeps climbing.  Contracts  keep being awarded. 


Anonymous said...

A job at town hall would be wonderful for a local resident. Too often we see the exodus from the parking lots heading north
and south. Job creation is still a project of council's imagination.

Anonymous said...

I don't watch council anymore. The Auroran gives me all I need. Brock writes quite impartially, I think, and the cartoon is usually right on.

Anonymous said...

How can you say that he writes impartially if that is all you read?