After reading last week’s paper, I felt compelled to write a letter to correct a misconception with our sewer revenue. Last week Mr. Milne commented on our sewer deficit.
The budget states that the sewer system operated at a deficit of $178,000 in 2010, however, the year end auditor’s report states that the sewer system actually had a surplus at the end of 2010 of $112,000.
Our sewer system is very new. I believe that there is no better time to start our own public works department. Sooke lost logging and fishing as an economic booster, so why would we not want to create a new industry? The answer I received to that exact question was, “we don’t have the manpower or the trucks.” To this I say hire a sewer expert and buy some trucks. If we lost our engineer, we’d hire a new one, so why not hire a few people to operate our sewer system?
The operating fees have almost doubled in comparison to what was projected only five years ago. We should ask ourselves — have labour costs doubled or has the price of trucks doubled?
The major issue I have with this contract is the fact that council did not put it out to the public bid process.
Council did not throughly research the possibility of a municipally run system. Lastly, the termination clause is too costly. Here are the key points: We cannot terminate in the first five years and if on the sixth year the council of the day chooses to cancel, the district will be on the hook for repaying the $500,000 concession fee (pro-rated) as well as any capital that is planned, the contract proposes to spend $689,000 in the first five years, and to top it off, 12 months operating and management fee which is over $900,000.
Twenty-one years is too long, it handcuffs seven councils.
I urge every taxpayer in Sooke to ask a lot of questions. All of council can be reached by email, mine is Bev.Berger@yahoo.ca