Rhino's Ramblings - Subtle Things You May Have Missed


By Robert Thomas - Opinion/Commentary

This past Monday evening’s edition of Council and Exevcutive Committee was despite what has been reported about it full of plenty of hidden and not so hidden meanings. Things which avid Council watchers likely did not miss but with that said things which the majority of people may be unaware of happening at the old Post Office on the corner of Fairford and Main.

By far the top story we reported were the major changes when it comes to the regular Free Dumping Days out at the landfill.

The two weeks we all use to enjoy twice annually - once in the Spring and again in the Fall - are now replaced with something entirely different. The City has moved to dumping only two weekends a year and then on a restricted organic basis. SEE RELATED - Dump Days Restricted

What this means is that for many people who took advantage of the Free Dump days to get rid of all of the junk you have collected and unable to fit into your bins is now gone.

That old couch and mattress you hoped to haul out to the dump for free is going to cost you $10 now - in most cases - to dispose of.

The only things you can get rid of now free on what turns out to be the Carlton Card holiday called Mother’s Day weekend (May 11 and 12) are restricted to the following organics such as grass, leaves and branches smaller than one inch. SEE RELATED - Organic Dump Days

Ironically the very things the City also last week held yet another workshop on at the Moose Jaw Public Library you know all about composting so it does not head out to the landfil to begin with.

Here you have one part of Administration trying to get people to compost up their leaves and grass so as not to fill up the landfill and another part of the City telling you it is OK to haul it all out to the landfill for free on just one weekend.

The lone voice of sanity in many people’s eyes was Mayor Fraser Tolmie, who although agreeing the restrictions were necessary, also argued in having them transitioned in slowly. Mayor Tolmie even went on to reference the failed attempts to convert to curbside pickup for garbage and how they were not well received. That debacle led to countless Council meetings and untold Administration hours debating and reporting on the entire issue over a 15 month period which ultimately ended up back where they started. SEE RELATED - Curb Side Defeated

It seems the Mayor has learnt the lesson do not mess with people’s trash or at least how they get rid of their garbage.

One of the big things I did read and hear all over town were people compaining about the radical changes in the previous dumping free for all and for the City and local rural municipalties to get ready for garbage to be tossed everywhere.

Will it happen?

Who is to say. But the one thing for sure is if it does it could end up costing the City or should we say taxpayers extra money to clean up the expected Notoriously Messy City.

The other issue which became public was that in 2015 close to $1 million in pledges to the Multiplex were wrtitten off as uncollectable. What this means out of the millions of dollars that were promised by individuals and businesses there is a millon dolllars and related charges that are not coming and it is going to be up to both you and me to make up for it all. SEE RELATED - Pledge Shortfalls

The one thing the admission that so much cash was officially writen off almost silently in 2015 is it is yet another Council Moment where one side can officially say “I told you so.” It is a black eye to say the least to the Moose Jaw Multiplex Builders Inc even if they will not admit to it in public.

This might sound truly crazy but maybe we need to put a line on every ticket sold at Mosaic Place and call it the Pledge Shortcomings Charge to emphasize the fact that about 10 percent of what was promised is not coming - ever.

Or if that is not possible maybe they need to have a charge on all admissions, memberships and rentals at the Yara Centre to make up for the heating system which I am hearing may need rather expensive upgrades as what was installed really is not up to the task at hand.

Another big item also came out on this issue as there was a new Request For Proposal (RFP) to manage and operate Mosaic Place in what will be its third change in management format in almost the same number of years.

One thing that is gone though in all of this is the $100,000 USD account city manager Jim Puffalt recommended having to buffer the currency differential between US and Canuck Bucks as the City was set to get more aggressive and move into the concert business in a much. much bigger way.

I think at the end of it all Council may have had a PBR or Pretty Big Realization moment that not everything is moving along as they want it to and some of the bull just might buck them off or if they do survive the 8 second ride it is not going to be very big on style points.

With tht said do not forget Mosaic Place is putting on the real PBR - Professional Bull Riding - along with Washboard Union and here is hoping for a good turnout for the two shows in one if you want to see more entertainment and concerts coming to the Friendly City. Here is where you can buy tickets = PBR Tickets

And finally it all comes down to the Federal cash for infrastructure to get a real report on for what some see as what the true priority of the City should be or at least in the mind of Councillor Brian Swanson.

During Monday night’s meeting Councillor Swanson tried to have $1 million earmarked - with $250,000 coming from City coffers - for solar power generation at four City owned facilities transferred into the cast iron water main replacement program.

It was a move that was shot down by City Manager Puffalt by stating that although cast iron water main replacement was a top priority the available grants from both upper levels of government as well as the projected $80,000 annually in electrical savings was just too good to pass up.

Puffalt said the $2 million plus which will be added to the cast iron water main replacement program as part of the Transportation stream of the infrastructure program was needed and if the solar project does not come into fruition the $1 million could be transferred there. SEE RELATED - Infrastructure Cash On The Run

It all sounds great, but if you are an avid Council watcher and have a memory which goes back a few months did not Administration say the amounts projected to be spent during Budget Committee discussions was sufficient despite the protests of Councillor Swanson?

At that time Councillor Swanson had a motion to look at shaving eight percent of the Operating Budget and taking the money and using it to double the amount of cast iron replaced on an annual basis. But then in an in-camera session Budget Committee effectively shut the proposal down. And because it was all done behind closed doors we will never, ever know why. SEE RELATED - Mistaken Vote

Could it be because Administration and others on Council did not want to see the end of some of their personal kingdoms or worse yet the funds for the new Airport Authority nixed on the tarmac?

How could the projected amounts be OK at budget time and yet not sufficient when it comes to federal and provincial dollars headed our way?

Will we see the question asked at all?

Well we might because at Monday evening’s Council meeting Councillor Swanson also did not vote in favour of it and so it has to come back to the next regular Council meeting for a vote.

It might just be a hot topic or at least part of Councillor Swanson’s annual television sermon to the converted we can all watch live either in person, on Shaw Cable 10 or the City’s internet feed.

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