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.

Save STC – SaskParty Ending Rural Transportation System

In a shocking turn of events, it’s been left to the NDP to defend the interests of people in rural Saskatchewan. This is something that would not have been predicted ten years ago, when the NDP name was mud outside of Regina and Saskatoon for having closed hospitals and schools in many small communities. Now, the SaskParty government is selling off STC’s assets to private companies, destroying a critical transportation infrastructure that has been in place for 70 years.

About 200 people gathered over lunch hour in Regina at the new STC Bus terminal, to tell the government to stop the closure. Guest speakers include City Councillor Andrew Stevens. Andrew was on the Morning Edition to explain the ridiculous cuts to the Cities.

Botched Investigation Into Murder

Later that day, however…

Vehicle Allowance

Do you wonder why Regina isn’t a Transit City? It’s because of automobile subsidies like the former City Manager getting $600-$1000 a MONTH for a personal vehicle.

A $1000/year would easily cover a Regina Transit pass, and the City Manager could fill in the gaps when headed to work sites with car sharing (which happens to be conveniently parked in City Hall Parkade).

Even an exorbitant $600/month vehicle allowance can buy my well-equipped bicycle once per month. I’d have to struggle to spend $600 a month on a car, unless I went with a Tesla Model S which could easily be $900/month if leased.

Do people from Regina wonder why our city transportation system is in decline? People in charge of it don’t decide to settle here after years of sort-of maintaining it. And the people who want to live here are not being listened to by those who could fix the problems.

Another Offensively Bad #Transit Idea from City of Regina

This idea from the City really is the worst. No one taking the bus from points to or from Vic, Albert or Broad would be in favour of this. We already have Express buses on those streets that address the perception of some riders that there are too many stops.

Here’s a workable theory:

TMLfan in exile writes:
The only reason for this is because they got complaints from people getting tickets for parking in the BUS LANES when the signs are large (at least double normal) and clearly marked indicating no stopping between 8:30am and 5:30pm.

Buses are so infrequent, on their very long routes, that it’s often faster to walk to your destination than wait for a bus. If you start walking, and see your bus coming down the street, the City’s bad idea will make it much less likely that you’ll be able to run to a remaining bus stop in time to get picked up. This proposal is entirely about increasing free street parking (which makes pedestrians and cyclists less safe), and nothing to do with improving the quality of transit service.

Regina Transit drivers have explained to me since the R-Card fare boxes were installed, stop times have increased as people struggle to feed coins into the fare box. Free transit removes this expense from the buses, and would increase efficiency of the service.

“The city is also looking into removing a transit stop within the Wal-Mart and Sobey’s parking lot near Rochdale Boulevard in the north end because of traffic congestion.”

Seriously? The whoever said that at the City, is trying to make Regina into a laughing stock. Why would you attempt to degrade mass transit service in an effort to improve traffic congestion? It’s not buses that are congesting Regina’s traffic.

ADDED: Look at what Saskatoon is proposing to improve transit service instead, for growth?

“For the first time we’re seeing public transit at the centre of the discussion for long term planning.”

ADDED: There are studies that show longer walks will decrease the number of people taking a bus. I do not know if there’s any study showing that removing stops will usefully decrease delays for people on buses and prevent them from leaving transit use for alternatives.

UPDATE: Regina Transit responds.

No Environment? No Problem. Blue Dot Doesn’t Sway #YQRcc

There are times when I get very disappointed with our City Council about their lack of leadership and failure to do the right things. Instead of passing Councillor Fraser’s motion to recognize a healthy environment and please the citizens involved with Blue Dot, the Council deferred the question to the City’s lawyers and financial planners. It’s obvious who really runs this city, isn’t it?

Councillor Hawkins dares to make this unfounded claim:

The gall to claim that, while delaying unequivocal support of the Blue Dot message, is staggering, frankly.

Apparently the legal and financial ramifications of Blue Dot are paramount, while the environmental considerations take a back seat for the majority of Regina’s Council. This isn’t the case in at least some other Canadian municipalities.

In October 2014, Richmond was the first city to adopt the Blue Dot Declaration, and since then, more than 100 other municipalities have done so.

Surrey has now joined that list and according to the group, there are more than 1,000 supporters of the Blue Dot petition in the city.

Meanwhile, south of the border…
Flint, Michigan had its water supply poisoned by decisions of municipal and state politicians to ignore and then cover up unsafe water being used in their pipes. It’s clearly a crime to poison a city with lead in their water. Society has agreed it’s a crime because it makes people sick, and suffer to deprive them of potable water. It was a crime justified by “financial considerations”.


The Saintly People Who Work For Us

I think we can conclude from this story that Regina has many gems working for us at City Hall. Who else would take a job at almost half of what they are worth, unless they loved serving the public here so much?

In 2008 Davies was paid $192,264. Six years later, in 2014, his pay was up 53 per cent to $294,754.

Hagen enjoyed a similar improvement, from $168,447 in 2008 to $253,275 in 2014, a hike of 50 per cent.

The public accounts show wages for the 10 best-paid employees in the city rose 42 per cent over six years.

According to the Bank of Canada, general inflation over that same time frame was 9.8 per cent.

I’m just smiling that Regina has managed to bounce back from its pension crisis after 2008 so well that it’s managed to catch up to its financial obligations to its best paid civil servants, and now suitably rewards them for their top-notch service to our city. Well done.

Of course, not everyone feels that way.

Even the Canada Geese honk at the increase.

Continue reading