Uncommon Sense: Municipalities a model of transparency
One of the nice things about municipal spending is that it is, comparatively speaking, fairly transparent.
Whereas trying to chase down the numbers and figures of audited reports for the province or federal government can be a veritable challenge, simply reading a Corporation of Delta council meeting agenda can be enough to keep one abreast of how your tax dollars are allocated.
Council approves all expenditures from the municipal budget, and throughout the year each department presents reports and recommendations on spending that budget.
By attending a council meeting, or watching it online or on Delta Cable, one can follow along in the agenda and see how council votes with respect to each request for funding.
Many requests are discussed publicly and debated by council, but some are simply adopted without so much as peep.
One such item appeared on the Jan. 28 agenda of Delta Council, involving a request from the engineering department to build a fence in Tsawwassen.
And not just a fence, but a $37,497.60 fence.
What would the purpose of this fence be? Why, to save people from themselves.
According to the report, pedestrians at 12th Avenue and 56th Street routinely skip the intersection crosswalk and traipse into traffic to access the other side.
These pedestrians use the median to jump between the palm trees that are the decorative hallmarks of a village in South Delta that tries hard to be Southern California. Planting a four foot high black cast iron fence is, apparently, the only way to stop these people from playing Frogger.
Not only will the fence cost $37,497,60, but relocating irrigation infrastructure will run a further $4,500, landscaping another $3,500, and project allowances $8,000. Put it all together, deduct the HST rebate, and we’re talking about a $50,000 fence.
Is it just me, or does it seem absurd to spend $50,000 to keep people from being lazy? After all, that kind of money would fund Delta’s Extreme Weather Shelter for two years. Or pay two thirds of that contentious Fraser Valley Library fee increase. I’m sure you can think of more examples on your own.
It isn’t that I’m trying to give the Corporation of Delta a hard time. On the contrary, I’m saying that the spending is there for all to see, from the useful to the laughably absurd.
And that’s a good thing for you, the taxpayers.