Regina Budget Re-do

Check out Jim’s presentation, he asks important questions and City Council dodged every single one of them.

And if you haven’t had enough input from the ecological perspective, check out my presentation with a long list of ideas to save money, and reduce pollution. I even include a new revenue stream for the City to start up.

Tomorrow night City Council votes on raising your taxes, and if they don’t listen to people, they’ll end our Lawn Bowling history, put fees up at the Airport, make it more difficult for people to depend upon the bus, and pave more of Wascana Park for cars.

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Online Budget Tool Returns

You can make a budget here. But it’s a bit pointless because they don’t let you take anything down to $0. Do I want $64.6M for policing still? No, I’d like to see what they can do with $40M, for a casual example.

Why is $42.8M the cap put on Transit? I think it should probably be $100M or more, so why is that not even an option to visualize?

 

Province Commits to 50% Renewable Energy

Sent to my Councillor today:

Dear Councillor Young:

Toronto now has a target to eliminate emissions causing climate change. Saskatchewan has just pledged to make half of our power from renewable sources by 2030. How does the City intend to help meet this aim? What policies and new budget items help the City generate electricity and reduce greenhouse gases?

Sincerely,
John Klein

Regina Budget Concerns Too Numerous To Mention All

Council is evading needed upgrades to our Transit system maintenance facility. Maybe they’re counting on big infrastructure dollars from the Federal government next year, but I really think they don’t care if our Transit system falls into disrepair, and lacks any usability.

From a capital perspective, the TMP recommends increasing transportation funding from $50 million to $61 million (in 2015 dollars) to expand the roadway network and build a new transit garage.

“We’re hoping we get to talk about it early in 2016 and then we’ll bring it forward for the 2017 budget,” said Coun. Barbara Young, who chairs the public works committee.

TRANSLATION: We’re hoping you’ll forget about it like you did the Parking Study and the Our Wascana reports we’ve recently suppressed.

She also said the reason for the delay is the expansiveness of the TMP.

“We need time to take it apart and ask how it was done, what was the methodology and who have you consulted with?” Young added. “We aren’t ready to take it public. We need more information.”

TRANSLATION: It’s really big and comprehensive, and we don’t know how to spin it into meaning we need to pour more money into roads instead of transit and cycling.

The TMP was created with public input at public meetings, you don’t need to “take it public”! This reeks of how the Mayor and Wascana Centre Authority are suppressing the Our Wascana report.

“One thing Young is looking forward to when the TMP is discussed is how the bike lanes are arranged, but said enhanced transportation is important for Regina.”

So “important”, we don’t need to do anything about implementing recommendations in the report until 2017 or later.

#YQRcc Budget

The next City Budget is underway, and I don’t even have to look at it to know that it will do exactly jack-squat to address the most serious issue facing civilization: climate change. While Saskatoon moves to address its buildings’ inefficiencies, what will Regina do to make our public buildings Net Zero energy consumers?

#UofR

  • We should start charging businesses using the City’s snow dump site.
  • The Stadium II project should yield a building that produces as much electricity as it consumes.
  • Active transportation like cycling and Transit need serious funding, instead of focusing on pot-hole free streets for cars only. What’s under the surface is even more important, as 500km of our water supply pipes are aging, End-Of-Life Asbestos Cement (AC).
  • New subdivisions being built without community centres like schools, libraries, and “Community Centres” (AKA Halls), are sapping our City for money while 60 year old neighbourhoods are not being kept up like most people would expect from a First World nation.
  • Public water and wastewater bills will go up so long as we continue to focus on flushing our waste nutrients into the closest surface water system.
  • Fix the Para Transit system so it doesn’t refuse thousands of ride requests every month. Last Winter Councilor Hawkins said let’s wait and see if it gets better after talking to the Provincial government. Well, it’s 2015 approaching, so what have his buddies in the Sask Party government done with him to fix Regina’s Para Transit in the past year?

#UofR

#YQRcc Budget Passes – No Help For Para #Transit

Last night City Council made some last minute changes to the budget, but nothing for the many delegates who presented needed changes.

Councillor Fraser made an admirable attempt to pressure the provincial government to cease their grotesque underfunding of the paratransit system, but 8 Councillors voted against the plan to purchase 1 bus contingent upon the province providing 2 more to reduce the thousands of rejected ride requests each month. I think Council’s handling of this issue is cruel, and disgraceful.

“This is a problem in our city, right now, and we can’t wait for politics to sort it out a few years down the road,” said Fraser.

Here was my presentation.

The City’s woefully underfunded Transit system has incurred a well deserved lawsuit for operating unsafe buses.

“The road evidence showed significant unusual skid marks specific to the left rear brake,” Stinnen wrote in her report. “It indicated the rear left brake was not operational which would have caused the bus to veer to the right and leave the roadway.”
Stodalka said, on reviewing that report, that “It’s our opinion that there’s little doubt that the city of Regina is negligent in failing to properly repair the brakes.”

This appears to contradict what Deputy City Manager Brent Sjoberg told CBC in September.
“The brakes were not the cause or a contributing factor to the accident,” he said then.

I don’t like liars, especially ones covering up for mismanagement of my city’s transit budget.

Jim Holmes was also at the meeting, criticizing the reporting in the budget of the WWTP spending, as well as the high base rate for water service.

Councillor Murray actually said, “The solution to pollution is dilution.”

Why were there a flurry of “fat trimming” motions to lower the 7% to 5.88% at the last minute? I think Councillor Flegel covered that in his rambling summary of what was going on.