Your Abbotsford Tax Dollars at Work

It would appear that the $200,000 taxpayer dollars City Hall is spending to hire PR and sell the P3 to the public is working.

Friday’s Global News Hour Final’s unbalanced reporting on the water system upgrade issue in Abbotsford was not only a one sided promotion of the current mayor and council’s position on the P3 issue, but did a great disservice to the taxpayers of Abbotsford by implying that the Mayor and Council are correct in their assertion that the P3 is the most cost effective way to upgrade Abbotsford’s water system.

Several people have performed and written about calculations that document that only under the most optimistic assumptions (everything goes perfectly and not a single tiny thing fails to go according to assumptions) does the cost of the P3 – possibly – come in under the cost of proceeding with the upgrade as a public project.

Failing to inform the citizens of Abbotsford that there are analysis that show a P3 is not the most cost effective way to accomplish the water upgrade (even with a $65 million grant from the federal government) gave Abbotsford’s citizens the impression that City Hall’s financial claims are correct is a great disservice to the citizens of Abbotsford.

The knowledge that there is serious doubt as to whether the City’s proposed P3 is the most cost effective (lowest cost) way of proceeding with the water upgrade is vital to citizens making an informed choice on November 19th.

The report also failed to note that the federal Conservative government is ideologically wedded to the idea of P3s and that the purpose of the grants is to make the cost of proceeding with P3’s competitive with the cost of a public project. And to tempt financially challenged politicians into fixating upon the idea of all those $millions$ of federal dollars and ignoring any evidence that demonstrates the cost of the P3 exceeds the cost of a public project – even after you subtract the federal grant dollars.

It is also important to know that as the cost of the water upgrade increases the savings to be found in using public financing increase. Given the nature of P3’s and Abbotsford’s mayor and council’s record of pie in the sky financial forecasting and cost overruns…..the probability of the cost soaring past the current number of $291 approaches certainty.

However, all those arguments are based on Abbotsford’s mayor and council’s insistence on going  it alone on the water upgrade.

As I point out as part of my platform in seeking election to Abbotsford’s council if we return to the original partnership with Mission and the announced 2/3 and 1/3 split of the cost of the water upgrade Abbotsford Mayor and council plan to spend an additional $127 million in order to get a $65 million dollar federal grant. (see for the calculations).

Would anyone – other than Abbotsford’s mayor and council – give someone $127 in order to get $65 back?

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