Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So many questions, the numbers are just not adding up.

Some recent events that have transpired raise some serious questions. The just passed budget and Fire Master Plan for a start, then we have Councilor Saje's letter which raises some serious concerns about when and when not proper procedures are being followed. Councilor Saje's examples are they the only ones where the process was not followed, are their more?

The numbers while we are all basking in the glory of  the Hotel development at the last budget meeting we had a Councilor talking about $240,000 going in to the land reserve fund and making it clear that does not include the money from the CLC site.
Which creates several questions what land is the municipality selling to bring in $240,000 (maybe the Hillcrest Fire Hall? they should tell us) The $300,000 from the CLC site why would that money not be shown going into the land reserves? after all we were told that it is a done deal. Is the money not coming in this year? is the sale conditional and won't come in until next year or even further down the road? Is the money scheduled to go some where else?

Then the Fire Master Plan lets go to page 82 it speaks to a capital and operational savings of $170,000 per year for the next ten years.

On page 50 it shows the operational, capital and debenture cost for Fire and Rescue from 2007-2011. The average operational costs were $391,652 a year, average capital costs of $79,276 and an average debenture cost of $68,156 for a total average cost of $539,084 per year.

On page 52 it shows the operational, capital and debenture costs for 2007-2011.

On page 53 it shows the budget for 2012 of $472,668 for operating budget and $83,756 for debenture for a total of $556,424 not out of line with the previous five years. What it does not show is anything for capital costs, did Fire and Rescue not buy anything in 2012? maybe. Now I know somebody will come back and argue that the actual numbers for 2012 were way lower than budget but that was based on grants the municipality received from the province for crisis management those will not be coming every year.

So now lets take a look at 2013 the new revamped Fire and Rescue Department that's going to save us all kinds of money. Operating budget $437,237, debenture payments of $83,756 for a total of $520,993 not out of line with the average costs from 2007-2011 except during those years there was an average capital costs of $79,276 nothing in 2013 for capital? strange maybe the municipality is not buying anything this year but then I glance at page 81 and it shows capital expenditures for 2012 to 2022 of $808,000 or $80,800 a year which is virtually identical to the $79,276 a year spent on capital from 2007-2011.

So with a total cost of $521,000 for 2013 compared to an average cost of $539,000 for 2007-2011. With an average capital cost of $80,000 from 2007-2011 but nothing showing for 2013.If you take that $80,000 average out of the 2007-2011 that would take the cost down for those years to $459,000. Where are we coming up with a $170,000 a year savings? I love working with numbers but I can't figure this out.

My next post will deal with the $521,000 for this year which I am already scratching my head about.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm.....maybe,in the future, we will get a two page spread explaining this to us?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you create some expenditures for the next ten years that you don't need. Let's say a ladder truck for example you build into a future budget, then suddenly realize that you can get by without it.
You cancel the ladder truck and magically you have savings.
My question is would that have not happened without closing Hillcrest?


Anonymous said...

I got thinking about Bill's comments in the paper today....Shouldn't we make the master plan then execute it not vice versa?

Anonymous said...

Further to our NEW COMMUNICATION STRATEGY (March 2013)
Please be advised - from today and until the election date - everyone is to make nice. This means:
1) Be especially nice to the local and any visiting reporters. Do not denigrate publishers or any printed media. Be available for interviews, be polite, don’t lecture them, don’t demean them, don’t explain to them how their job is done, etc. you get the picture.
2) DON’T LEAVE TOWN after making difficult or controversial decisions – this always gives bad press.
3) Approach all different volunteer groups and see how you can be helpful – don’t lecture them. Don’t tell them directly or indirectly, that they need “proper direction.” Volunteers are hard to get.
4) Loosen up (just a little) control of the agenda process, make it look like ideas come from more than one source. Don’t be afraid to have some debate in public, it makes it look like you are working.
5) Meet with local organizations and at least pretend to listen and look sympathetic. Don’t play silly “venue selection games”; meet them wherever convenient for everyone - this is community building, not power building. Smile a lot.
6) If there is another public meeting - avoid ejecting anyone unless physically threatened. Little verbal challenge comes with the political territory. Pretend you have thicker skin. Smile and agree to disagree, play along, avoid challenging phrases such as “bring it on,” etc.
7) Tell your friends, relatives and spouses not to engage your critics in letters to the editor, social media, and especially on the blogs. Let any controversy die off, people are tired of controversy.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Information contained herein should not be relied on for making any decisions and, as anything on the Internet, may be not reliable or be just plain wrong. When thinking about serious issues use your own best judgment and avoid being manipulated by timely and expensive (sometimes cheap) PR campaigns. Don’t take anything too seriously, and above all, be nice to everyone.
Ppso.110x-limited distribution-xo

Anonymous said...

Have they also hired a 'Creative Accountant' that we don't yet know about?

Anonymous said...

4:10 You are right seems really strange that they would implement the plan over the last nine months then have council approve it after it's all done.
Is this another part of what Saje was talking about when he referred to process not being followed?

Anonymous said...

So what would have happened if Council had rejected the Master Plan?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:29 said...
"So what would have happened if Council had rejected the Master Plan?"

Good question. Did the actions taken up to March 5 legally require a Council resolution? If so, they are retroactively authorising illegal actions (and associated spending).

If the resolution is not legally required, what is it - meaningless fluff?

Anonymous said...

Another question, the motion says:

M#6775-13: Councillor Saindon moved that Council accepts the recommendation of Administration to formally adopt and institute the recommendations of the 2012 Master Fire Plan Service Study including consolidation of Fire/Rescue Services, Department Organizational Structure and the consolidation to three stations. Station 23 Bellevue, Station 24 Blairmore, Station 25 Coleman.

Are they adopting a specific document as official Policy? I don't think the recommendations of of a "study" would constitute policy.

The website links this "Table of Contents" of a 666 page document:

I can't find the document itself. Is this the actual policy document they are adopting? Who knows?

I could FOIP it, along with the land sales documents.

Anything else you want to know? The $25 FOIP fee buys multiple requests.

Anonymous said...

They already have a creative maid Marion that has not passed cga cma or cpa certification. How much more creativeness do you need.

Anonymous said...


We have a creative accountant. It is maid marion.

Anonymous said...

the numbers dont work because the people working with the numbers for the municipality are not qualified to work in that department. look them up and see what the CFO has for qualifications!

Anonymous said...

Communications is the game,
And so to play, we'll hire big names.

Stories are what we like to tell,
So, Victor is our guy, he's swell.

We're done with Town Hall meetings now,
And so from them we'll take a bow.

Two way discussions won't be stood,
Debating issues is just no good.

We'll feed 'em so many crazy numbers,
And fancy charts to make 'em slumber,

And then when they all start to snore,
OUR plans we'll implement and MORE!

this message is brought to you by:
"Quick and crappy poems r us"

Anonymous said...

I think they are kicking the can down the road. They make no capital purchases for a year or two to make the books look good but fall behind in replacing equipment.Eventually you have to catch up, so then the big hits start coming. But by then it is the next councils problem.They are trying so hard to get re-elected.
As for the 521,000, I just can not see how this is possible.We have 2 1/2 full time employees with trucks compared to none before.I would like to see a break down of actual expenses. Before and after!

Crowsnest Pass Home said...


If you have room on your FOIP request I would like you to ask any of the questions that I recently posed to Councilor Saindon.

1. Could you tell me the number of people that have sat in the various management positions since Nov 1,2010 and left the organization. Please include Interim, Consultants, municipal hires etc.
2.You spoke to Union Positions that were not filled in previous years (two come to mind one left via retirement and one left for other employment). How many positions have become vacant due to retirement since Nov 1 2010? have all been filled?
3.How many positions became vacant due to people leaving for other employment since Nov 1,2010? have they all been filled?
4.Are all positions that are vacant today in the process of being filled internally and or advertised externally if not filled by present employees?
5.At one of the recent Open Houses it was posted amongst the Financial Information that the position of the Warehouse attendant and the HR clerk were being eliminated were those reductions in the workforce approved by council in the budget process?
6.Have there been other CUPE positions eliminated in the last two years if so how many and which?
7.The Document Management Clerk position is that an additional position or will it be filled by eliminating another position?
8.The Municipal Christmas Party did any CUPE members attend? If none has that ever happened previously?
9.Back on Feb 14 I asked the following question “Emile could you find out if the information on the demolition bids will be made public? The $800,000 would be significant unless there was a substantially lower bid” Could you please tell me when that information will be provided to the public.
10.Which members of council/administration sit on the Agenda Committee?
11.Which members of council/administration sit on the Policy Committee?
12.The Hillcrest Fire Hall is there any intention to sell that property in 2013?
13.The $240,000 that is going into land reserves which property sales are anticipated to generate that revenue?
14.It was also clearly stated that the revenue from the CLC site was not part of the $240,000 going into land reserves, is that due to the sale not closing this year or will the municipality receive those funds at a later date?
15.Is there somewhere else that those dollars are designated to, if so where?
16.Last year the municipality used Park Enterprises and its own municipal building inspector, will that be the case again in 2013. How much did the municipality spend on Park Enterprises in 2012 and what is budgeted for 2013.

One other addition if possible how much have we paid Calder Bateman, what is the hourly rate and which Open houses, newsletters, press releases etc did they work on for the municipality.

Anonymous said...

I live 3 blocks from that Blairmore Fire Hall there are private vehicles there all the time. Night and Day are those people being paid to be there.

Anonymous said...

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

If you have room on your FOIP request I would like you to ask any of the questions that I recently posed to Councilor Saindon.

The only advantage of a FOIP request is you have a right to appeal. But FOIP does not require governments to answer questions, they only have to disclose "records" (that includes paper docs, computer files, video, everything). If they do answer questions, they can spin and muddle the answers any way they want, and you can't appeal.

For your staffing questions, what you really want is a printout (table or spreadsheet) of all positions for each month showing whether they are staff, contract or vacant. Would that answer your questions? If they can easily produce a report like that with a few mouse clicks they are supposed to give it to you. From your experience, do they have that sort of capability?

Also, we need to be very careful wording the request so not to give them excuses. For example, are staff/contractors paid monthly or biweekly. We should ask for a separate printout for each type of pay period.

More later, I'm off to the post office to look for the response to my Feb 12 request (due yesterday - how long does it take for mail from Coleman?).

There are nice readable guides to how the process is supposed to work here:

Chapters 3&4.

Anonymous said...

To 12:35

We could knock on their door and ask them. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

So would the municipality be recommending to Canada Post that they close an outlet in either Hillcrest or Bellevue. It would make them more efficient and save a few dollars.
Just asking is it not a fair comparison.

Anonymous said...

According to the Promoter:
The balance of the funds $200,000 – will go into land reserves, Thompson said.
Has Council overruled him?