Who gets the best deal?

At Monday’s council meeting the mayor assured me that EPCOR will sue the District if they don’t get the 21-year $20,000,000 sewer deal. They have divulged their proprietary secrets about the operation of our sewer system to get the deal, so now we have to pay them.

It’s not rocket science or complicated finance. The system is basically a big pipe (that we own) down which crap goes to the ocean. How secret can it all be?

The deal is being sold to us on three points:

Stabilized rates. That sounds great, until one considers that rates are stable anyhow. My sewer costs have gone up three per cent since 2007. It’s a pipe. How unstable can the cost of it be?

Epcor is going to “pay” us a $500,000 franchise fee. It sounds like a gift from the sewer gods, until you realize that we have to pay it all back through the sewer charges on our tax bill. It’s a slush fund to buy the favour of the administration.

Transfer of legal and financial operational risk to EPCOR. The deal doesn’t transfer anything to Epcor except our money. It’s a little like buying an extended warranty on a used car. It sounds great until you try to access the warranty and find out that virtually everything is “normal wear and tear” and not covered.

We have already paid the $100,000 or so required for the District to figure out what it wants in the contract. Now we should put it on BC Bid and let the market show us what its got. Maybe EPCOR has the best deal. Maybe it doesn’t.

To find out you need to submit an Elector Response Form, available from the District of Sooke.

1)      Trust the market.

2)      Trust Epcor (or they will sue us).

Terrance Martin

Sooke