Friday, 6 September 2013

Why I Am Voting YES on September 25, 2013

Happy weekend Regina!!

You may have seen my flyers downtown, but if you haven't already, I'm posting this information today for your reading enjoyment. As I strongly pushed for during the 2012 Civic Election, I am a very strong believer in being accountable and transparent to you, the taxpayers of Regina. As such, I want to inform you as much as possible about the upcoming Referendum without explicitly telling you HOW to vote. I want to give you as much information, so that you can become an informed voter, and make your own informed decision on September 25, 2013. You know, kind of like what the City of Regina SHOULD BE doing!

Below, I provide to you an explanation as to one of the main reasons that I, personally, am voting YES on September 25, 2013. As I said above, I do not want to push you one way or another, but if you read what I write below, and wonder why the City of Regina continues to dodge even the most basic of questions regarding the Wastewater Treatment Plant P3 Referendum, then I have a strong feeling you may be inclined to vote yes, to keep our public utitlities PUBLIC.

Why I am Voting YES on September 25, 2013
– By Chad A. Novak, CMA (Saskatchewan Taxpayers Advocacy Group)

Amongst many other concerns, my primary concern is that the “Value For Money” argument is not supported anywhere in the Deloitte report. The reason for this is that it is completely mythical, and has no evidence to back it up, and is a hypothetical assumption at best, assigning a dollar figure to what it determines to be the “risk” associated with the potential delays in the construction from a Design, Bid, Build project. THIS is where the City got its magical $79.6 Million “savings” that they touted for months, and allegedly based their decision in February 2013 on. If this is true, then their very “unanimous” decision is very flawed. Add to that the fact that many experts in the industry have determined that the “Value for Money” argument is completely subjective, and can easily be manipulated to support any kind of argument that a party would like to. Keeping in mind that a Private Company would build this WWTP regardless of P3 or DBB, one has to wonder just how realistic these risk assumptions/”Value for Money” are. Assuming, of course, that the P3 benefits include promises included in an eventual contract that would withhold money from the private company if it didn’t perform to standards.

When you factor in the $58.5 Million that the City of Regina is advertising as “lost money” if it doesn’t choose a P3, of course, to the layperson, this would scare the hell out of them to say “Well, why would anyone NOT want to support this P3 project?” The $58.5M seems to be the City’s only argument now, and they’ve even gone to the extent of breaking it down to an annual “savings” on your utility bill of $276/year for 4 years. What they aren’t telling you is that there is indeed other Federal and Provincial Funding available. Until recently, they have said these have long expired, and thus are no longer on the table. Recently, the Mayor realized that this funding is continuing well into the future, but claims “the next funding” isn’t happening until 2014, which apparently, in his mind, is too late. In addition, they aren’t telling you that the total cost of the WWTP Upgrades has been represented in such a manner to make the WWTP seem like a “deal” when you factor in the P3 Grant, even though just last July it was being publicly advertised as a $150M project, and is still to this day only a $120M project, according to Enterprise Saskatchewan. The City of Regina would have you believe that the project is now in the $224-$234M range, but provide nothing other than “oops, we forgot inflation” as their justification. They fail to mention that in the “Pro P3” Deloitte report, it states that any projects lower than $224M are “unattractive” to investors. Coincidence?
On September 25, Your Choices Are:
Vote No
- Up To $58.5 Million P3 Grant available
- Outsource non-management jobs and operations
- Control handed over to a for-profit corporation
- Higher bills due to private profit being added

Vote Yes
- Canada Builds grant available - Amount still TBD
- Provincial Funding possible (based on similar projects)
- Jobs and Operations protected
- Control stays with the public
- Bills are lower as no profit needs to be added

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