This Week at City Hall: Transit Review, Debt Shuffle and a Bus Fare Increase

Tuesday, February 16
Public Works Committee (4 pm): Looking at the installation of water meters in new buildings. Presently, water meters aren't installed until after a building is built and during construction a flat rate is applied for water use. Under the system being proposed, meters would be installed when construction begins and builders would be charged for the water they actually use.

Wednesday, February 17
Executive Committee (11:45 am): Apparently, in the past, when railway land has come up for sale, the city hasn't had a plan on how or when or if to purchase it for expansion of city services or to make available for housing or roads or what have you. Currently, there doesn't seem to be any railway land that'll imminently become available, but if Executive Committee accepts a recommendation coming forward this week, they will incorporate a railway land purchasing strategy into the Official Community Play.

They will also be looking at shuffling around some of their debt. The city currently has $42 million in debentures it took out to cover the cost of providing water and sewage services to the Global Transportation Hub. Turns out, they didn't need that cash as the cost of providing that service was cheaper than expected ($20-something million instead of $40-something million) and the provincial and federal governments paid for it. Instead of paying off the $42 million, Executive Committee is considering using the money for other capital projects. If they do this, they'll avoid paying a penalty for paying off their debt early. Plus, they're going to have to take out debentures to cover the capital projects anyway, so using these debentures saves them the trouble of getting new ones.

Also on the agenda, are some technical stuff about the Recreation Infrastructure Canada Fund Contribution Agreement (specifically, approvals are needed so the city clerk and mayor can negotiate and administer the federal government's $750,000 contribution), a request $135,413 to cover updates to the Regina Police Service radio system and a $122,500 contract for off-site storage of municipal documents.

Community and Protective Services Committee (4 pm): The transit review is finally here! Although they're officially calling it the Transit Investment Plan. So, Community and Protective Services Committee will be having a gander at this. It's kind of a big deal and at 260 pages, probably warrants a post of its own.

Also on their agenda are an increase in transit and paratransit fees. Expect to see the cost of riding the bus go up to $2.50 for an adult. The committee will also look at a report on the Campus Express service which shows transit usage by students is up since its introduction -- now if we could just get all the little anarchists and Ayn Rand fanboys to kick in for a universal UPass system the route might become sustainable. Did I just suggest our city's post-secondary student body is overrun with anarchists and Ayn Rand fanboys? Yes I did. But that's okay because I'll bet you dollars for donuts nary a one will read this far into this incredibly long, incredibly dull city hall update. It's Reading Week and they're all off getting drunk and syphillitic in Florida while I'm freezing my ass off here.

Yes, it's a particularly bitter Monday.

The committee will also be looking at increases in the greens fees at city owned golf courses. The city owns six golf courses.... that blows my mind a little. Why does the city own six golf courses? Is that a usual thing for a city to own?

As usual, blah blah blah, blah blah blah, the city website.


Barb Saylor said...

While I, like everyone else, don't much like the idea of an increased busfare, the proposed increase is still reasonable, and Regina still charges less than many other cities.
As for the failure of the "yes" side in the referendum on adoption of the universal UPass, this is democracy in action, whether you agree with the results or not, so stop yer whingin'. If it's any comfort at all, bear these thoughts in mind:
a) the current student body will eventually graduate, to be replaced by (possibly) one with a different perspective;
b) another such referendum at a future time may have a better chance, especially in view of the apparent rise in transit use by students.
By the way, I noted the anonymous quote in the article on the city's rebranding. Ta.

Paul Dechene said...

Your point about the rebranding was a good one. Thanks for the comment.

As for my whinging... whinging??!?! Please. I was grousing.

As for the specifics of my complaint, I stand by them. At university (and elsewhere for that matter) too many good plans for collective action get scuttled by the miserliness of the Ayn Randoids and the anarchists (and, re: the latter, I'm referring to the nasty, libertarian, "less-government-is-more-better" sort). It may be democracy in action, but I chafe when all democracy seems to accomplish is the protection of individual stashes.

But, yes, if the students' union and the city's transit department do a better job of selling the UPass, it may very well pass next time around. I just wish "let's all get together and build something awesome" wasn't such a hard sell.

Barb Saylor said...

The UPass referendum failure reminds me of something I said earlier, elsewhere: good ideas don't sell themselves. Selling them takes hard work,time (maybe multiple attempts), and the development of critical mass. This is not what appeals to the quick-fix, instant-gratification crowd...but it's how things get done.
Happy Family Day!

Stephen Whitworth said...

Don't say "Ayn Randoids". That's lame. Go with "Randroids" instead.

Paul Dechene said...

You're right. "Randroid" is better.