I would like to congratulate councillors Berger and Haldane for standing up for their principals and not voting for the EPCOR deal.
It must be frustrating for them to work in an environment where they try to make the best decisions on behalf of the community and when they ask questions of staff they are not given any useful information.
For example; Evan Parliament, C.A.O. is asked by Berger why there is a deficit (Sooke News Mirror May 18, 2011). The answer given is there is a deficit because revenues do not match expenditures,
the deficit of over $300,000 was common for a new utility
the biggest reason for the deficit was because of SD#62
This is not a proper answer to the question and we should expect more. Does Mr. Parliament not know that we were told initially that the sewer system would not run at a deficit and that a future reduction in revenue from SD#62 of $11,883 per year does not explain an already existing deficit? As council is prepared to enter into a 21-year agreement with EPCOR they should know the detailed reasons why the previous agreement was a failure so the same mistakes are not made and the deficit does not go higher.
To show that the councillors do not fully know what they are approving – they have just approved a five-year budget for the operation of the sewer system and it does not reflect the 50 per cent increase in costs according to the new agreement. This puts us in an even higher deficit position.
In a nutshell, the new EPCOR agreement is as follows: EPCOR will pay us $500,000 which I am sure will be spent really fast. EPCOR will charge us 50 per cent more and they can keep increasing these charges year after year. We can pay EPCOR $1,000,000 to cancel the agreement in five years.
This is definitely a win-win situation for EPCOR and we are the losers.
I would suggest that this agreement be flushed for what it contains but I’m sorry to say that the pipes aren’t large enough.