Watchdog insists council wasting taxpayer money paying exorbitant engineering fees

By on March 12, 2014

Dear Editor:

This letter is sent in response to the recent article that ran under the headline, “Council set to pass 2014 budget during next week’s regular meeting.”

I would like to take this opportunity to set some facts straight as I see them.

Councillor Michael Ryan stated “members of council have taken a long look at the costs involved in” operating its own engineering department and “it’s simply not feasible.”

I have always believed the town could create its own engineering department at a reasonable price when compared to the quality services provided to the town by True Consulting.

I disagree with Ryan and other councillors and Mayor Wells’ comment, “I think the people can be proud of this budget.”

Facts and evidence are on my side.

Illusions are on Ryan as well as council’s side.

The Town of Osoyoos is the only municipality of this size in British Columbia, maybe in Canada, that employed three full-time planners (which has been reduced to two full-time planners).

We have them on the payroll plus we pay True Consulting for advice or for planning strategy.

We don’t need an engineering department as we already have a planning department.

What we need is a qualified engineer with municipal planning and public works expertise.

Unfortunately, the mayor and councillors don’t care about taxpayers’ money, especially fiscal responsibility, openness as well as accountability.

For the past several years, previous council and now the current council have failed to save taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

For the record, True Consulting was paid $854,000 between January of 2011 and the end of December 2011.

The amount paid to True Consulting by the town in 2012 was more than $866,000.

For 2014, according to the official budget document, the town will pay fees and contingencies to True Consulting of almost $1.46 million.

And this is without the new proposed fire hall as the cost for engineers and consultants is not known.

Citizens of Osoyoos better pay attention to what transpired in the hallowed council chambers during the 2014 public hearing relating to the budget and keep an eye on the fire hall referendum in June.

As I said during the budget meeting, I have asked council to delay the fire hall referendum until November during the municipal election so people will have more time to decide to approve the fire hall or not.

We need to know the real and true cost of the new fire hall.

I am looking forward to hearing from Wells and Ryan and hope they respond to this letter by writing a response in the Osoyoos Times.

I want to hear them tell taxpayers why we are paying so much money to True Consulting.

Thank you.

Sy Murseli

Osoyoos, B.C.


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