p. 483 is a list of requests to speak. These are, in order:
Bruce Frogley on rent subsidies;
Jack Grover on homelessness;
Kent-Smith-Windsor on the property tax.

p. 484 is a summary of letters. This month: waste water management, excess noise, a CFIB info bit on “Property Tax Fairness”, snow removal, the fire on Brightsand Crescent, recycling, infrastructure costs, barking dogs, parking tickets, fluoride, fluoride, multi-unit recycling, THE BUS INCIDENT YOU KNOW WHICH ONE, my friend Phil on cycling, and snow removal.

p. 487 is Mr Grover’s letter. Hang on, I need to update my list of “Top Ten Most Terrifying Letters”. I hope the Commissionaires are on their game tomorrow night. I was super into graphology stuff in high school and this sample here would put any graphologist to Defcon-5.

Kent-Smith-Windsor is, unsurprisingly, lobbying to lower business taxes in this city. p. 490 is the report, if you’re interested. It’s in Calibri, so we can safely ignore it. I don’t take anything that uses the default font seriously. It’s a snappy method of determining whether you should care about something or not. I strongly recommend it; it simplifies your life greatly.

Also there’s a chart on p. 494 that shows property taxes are at an all-time low, almost, in the last decade. (2009 was the lowest). I’m not sure if it’s just me, but this seems like an argument against your position? Perhaps? Taxes were higher during the early half of this decade, you know, when everyone started coming back to Saskatchewan. Also, we’re still struggling with the massive infrastructure deficit caused by chronic underfunding (that is still going on, mind you) of previous administrations.

I understand it’s Kent-Smith-Windsor’s job to lobby for lower taxes, but it’s a bit tone-deaf to do it after we’ve had weeks of people begging council to raise their taxes in order to pay for residential snow clearing. What was the additional cost? $7 per year on the average tax bill? Even the slash-and-burn ideologues, I suspect, are having a hard time defending that one.

Here’s a fun thing from the Atlantic Cities that posits economic incentives (such as tax breaks) actually do nothing.

I have a modest proposal. We all know Saskatchewan is full of hardy types, those who have weathered the, er, weather, and economic adversity, and years of discrimination for being Ukrainian in some cases, and mostly public healthcare. People who have built things on the lands that were questionably acquired from others. People who worked hard plowing until they realized summerfallow was a good thing in the 30’s. People who drink GW and wear green. People who put in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, and who shun taking charity when they don’t need it. In Saskatchewan, success is based on hard work and not government handouts. We sneer in the face of “tax breaks” or “credits”. Did people in the 1930’s go on strike? No! They just kept eating dirt and saying “Next year we’ll get those bastards!” Look at those snivelling filmmakers, scraping out of the province on their yellow bellies as soon as their crummy tax credit was rightly denied. And those farmers, painfully picketing the Legislature! Get back in the field! They don’t deserve any breaks. They should be lucky to have a job. So should you! Higher taxes only serves to temper our will to that of adamantine, to increase our determination to succeed against all odds. The rallying cry of the business community is “Raise my taxes? I’ll just make more money to spite you!” And the government responds with equal fervour: “Right then! We’ll just take all your money and put it into boring things like sewer pipes and roads. Not even a fucking statue in your name for all those millions of dollars we’re taking!” It’s war out there, I tell you. War! So my proposal is this: businesses voluntarily give up their tax incentives, since they don’t work anyways, and we put that money towards roadways. It’s a win-win situation. The business community gets some good PR at a low cost, and we can have an “attractive business environment” i.e. one with proper 20th-century roads.

p. 503 is a letter from a MP proposing a bill subsidizing waste water treatment for rural areas.

Kit Deux approves of the City’s recent overtures to noise control.

Now we have some notice of hearings. People are being naughty and building high fences.

p. 511. The CFIB is concerned that if the City raises taxes they will lose their prestigious position (second place) on the CFIB’s list of Top Entrepreneurial Cities. It’s rather tedious and includes the bit that businesses pay 1.78 times the amount residents pay for property tax, which is killing businesses. Don’t believe everything you read in the business mags, boys. The economy in Saskatoon stands upon the edge of a knife.

Here’s the report: “WANTED: Property Tax Fairness in Saskatchewan”. Seems legit. Business types (and all people, really) if you want your report to be taken seriously: 1. avoid moral judgements in the title 2. avoid using all-caps in the title. It’s not hard! Otherwise, you are needlessly antagonizing the people who have make the decisions about tax rates. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that people don’t like to be criticized. (Another thing I know is that some people really enjoy being needlessly antagonized.) Bottom line: don’t make your report sound like some aggrieved libertarian blog post.

Edward Kozowy is not impressed with the $94,000,000 snow dump. He offers his expertise in the area (unknown).

Wallace Frie is a brave man. He is criticizing the efforts of the Fire Department in putting out a house fire across the street. “I saw little effort to put out the fire on the roof of the second house for at lease 30 minutes.” He also wants to know why the hydrant in front of his property was eventually abandoned for one further down the street, especially since his says “Does not drain”. I am certain in the event of a conflagration at Mr Frie’s house, the firefighters will be sure to consult him first upon the appropriate course of action for quelling the flames.

We now pause while I read up on fire hydrants.

Well! That was interesting. So, fire hydrants in cold climates are designed with the valve well below the frost line, so the water doesn’t freeze and we end up with hydrants looking like beer you put out on the back step during a good party and then remembered three days later. (This is also why, if you attack a fire hydrant with a motor vehicle, there is usually not a resulting geyser of water.) These are called “dry hydrants” and they have a drain system so that water doesn’t remain in the hydrant where it will freeze once the fire department is done. However, not all the hydrants in the city are dry hydrants, so we have the “does not drain” circles to identify which ones need special attention after being opened in winter. Ta-da.

Sally Nowaselski is 93 and on a fixed income. She can’t afford the blue bins in front of her house and doesn’t want one. I’m impressed she’s still living in her house, really. Also some of her neighbours have “4 or 5 families” living in a 1 bedroom house” and they are not paying taxes but buying new cars instead. She also suggests that the correctional centre inhabitants be enlisted to shovel the sidewalks.

Brian Geller pins the blame of the infrastructure deficit on sprawl and urges the city to stop subsidizing far-flung crescents at the expense of the central grid.

Wendy Wehner would like to know if there is a way we can stop “the dogs” from barking. “To fill out a log for a week is bull.”

Andy (Yuhou) Hu is angry at the parking ticket his wife received at SIAST. Reading his letter, I’m inclined to agree that this parking situation is also “bull”. She plugged the meter but did not register her plate at the front office. This seems like an extraneous step to me, especially if, as Mr Hu outlines, there is a lack of signs explaining this is the case. Also, as SIAST is now home to most of the EAL learners, signs in additional languages would be an asset. Don’t laugh, you guys, due to the stupid way our city is set up, it mandates car ownership. The resulting scenario is you have people driving cars who are still learning to read English. (Or in some cases, who’ve never learned to read English at all. The literacy level in this burgeoning metropolis is not as high as you’d think.)

Two fluoride letters, covering the same ground as before;

Marjory Gammel is displeased with the two-tier level of service regarding recycling. (Namely, multi-unit buildings have to sort their recycling and can’t recycle as many different things as houses.) She supports Cosmo but says the system makes no sense; why can’t Loraas just do it and then send it over to Cosmo after it’s been sorted?

Arthur Cordell has input on that stupid bus incident. You know which one. Everyone in this situation is frustrated, but everyone is also acting like an inconsiderate asshole. And don’t get me started on the “team pedestrian”, “team bus driver” foolishness. If you haven’t let your precious ass touch a bus seat in a decade, stay out of it.

Phil Siebert, my new friend, is asking about the awful state of affairs of the Meewasin bike trail behind Walmart-Cabela’s. Ohhhh you guys. I have been stewing over this all summer and have managed to forget about it until now. Perhaps I may create a titanic post based around this over the Christmas break, complete with hand-drawn illustrations and rage arrows. I am not quite sure why I am so upset about this, except for the fact I go through there every day in the fair seasons. (I have a series of email exchanges with a City traffic engineer on this point. Are any of you traffic engineers? I have some questions for you and they’re not very nice.)  That crosswalk behind Cabela’s as a viable solution is bullshit. Bullshit! Oh I am so mad again. And the worst part is this is such a puny little infrastructure problem, like focusing on that sliver in your nail when your leg is rotting off. But you can get that sliver out! You can’t do too much about the leg without outside help.

Shirley Bird has a blockage on her sidewalk caused by the city graders. So she is parking in her neighbour’s spot. (She lives at 103 108th St, to inform those of you next door.) Herein lies the dilemma: if you live on a snow route or bus route, your road gets cleared and your driveway blocked. If you live off the routes, your driveway gets cleared (by yourself) and the road gets blocked. Everyone: so miserable! Even I am miserable this year, and I quite like snow.

And that’s it! I’m done. I’ve been getting later and later on these. I’d apologize, except for I’m not getting paid to do this and I’m not quite sure why I’m doing this anymore anyways. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, both of you.

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