Open letter to Mayor Bev Buckway and all councillors:
First, congratulations to all those elected, old and new.
You now have the important job to control escalating costs and stop the six-year trend of increased taxes and utility rates. You promised no utility increase this year as you implemented a 15 per cent increase last year, which was way out of line even to most councillors.
We will now see if you hold to your promise, or if that was, again, lip service.
I waited until after the election to respond to your last e-mail (see below) regarding energy issues, which the Utilities Consumers’ Group (consumer, customer, ratepayer, taxpayer) has, for over a year, notified you of, regarding what we perceive as a lack of an energy savings plan by your corporation (i.e. UCG has not seen any concrete evidence from the city of this goal).
Your own e-mail states there is no formal plan. My rebuttal to you is, Why not?
Other cities have implemented such plans years ago, including our neighbour to the east, Yellowknife.
You have a sustainability department/co-ordinator as well as a waste-management department/co-ordinator. Yet you have no set policy goals for energy management?
Therefore, no implementation plan nor timelines to achieve these goals. It would appear to UCG that you have been negligent in this department.
Then, you imply since “cutbacks on departments necessitate savings in every way possible,” this will automatically result in energy savings.
Now, if I know bureaucrats, they will take the easiest way possible to achieve the goal of departmental savings Ã very likely not anything affecting their own bottom line or workload.
So how does this statement of yours help us believe you are achieving energy savings … premise: no measurement nor policy goals. Conclusion: no necessity to achieve, nor prove savings?
It is your last statement that we consider hits rock bottom: “…the need to hire additional staff to achieve energy savings.”
It was our understanding that it is mayor and council who set policy goals and then direct administration to achieve these goals. And as I have stated earlier, you have sustainability and waste-management branches to reflect such plans. Is this not a correct assumption?
Superficial energy savings may be taking place, but they are not not showing up on the books … as previous mayor and council have always used the increase in energy costs and increase in wage costs as the main drivers necessitating yearly increases in our taxes and utility rates.
I’m not a chartered accountant, but it would appear to me that this is where savings must occur to stop the yearly glut of taxation and utility rate increases.
Roger Rondeau, president
Utility Consumers’ Group