Each time your agent sees the word “fairness” in a city press release, one wonders how much this “fairness” will cost us.
In the case of the storm-water flat fee, aren’t Ottawans already paying for storm-water pipes from the current water bill? And what of rural Ottawans? Must they pay a flat fee for exactly what kind of storm-water removal? Rural drains?
All of this “fairness” is beginning to look like a big tax grab. Will these extra funds be applied to the $42-million operating budget deficit?
And if this money is applied to the operating deficit, will this allow Mayor Jim Watson to say he is holding property taxes to two per cent? The “fairness fee” might turn into a Watson campaign promise fee that doesn’t show on the property-tax bill because water is not a part of it?
Now the city is holding a long string of consultations on this issue of “fairness” and if the city plays to form, it will say that after these meetings it has been found that this proposal has merit and will be applied and, yes, the city has consulted extensively.
Sorry for the cynicism but your agent has seen way too many of these consultations.
Here’s what happens. We’ll get a storm-water flat fee because that’s what the city wants to do. Ever seen the city turn down its own plan because of consultations? Oh the city might compromise. Perhaps allow people to pay by VISA in regular automatic installments. But pay you will do.
After all, the city consulted and consulted on Lansdowne and in the end went ahead and did it in the face of considerable opposition (and support). Sole-sourced it no less and killed an international design competition in the process. Wait a second. Process might be the wrong word to use.
If the city wants to raise water fees (and it hasn’t been shy about doing that with increases in recent years of seven and six per cent), just say you’re raising the water fee. As well, don’t charge a flat fee to people who don’t use much in the way of storm-water services. The city should be honest with the people who own the corporation.
Furthermore, tell large buildings and parking lots to find ways to return storm water to the ground rather than in a big, polluting rush to the rivers and beaches. Mention that to the developer concierges.
Lastly, don’t couch a tax grab as “fairness”. Fair to whom? People with two-per-cent tax-increase election promises?
Back to The Bulldog’s home page, click here.
To comment on this post, use the reply box at the bottom of this page.
To get the best in Canadian news and opinion, click here for Bulldog Canadian.