MTAG Condemns Huge Water Rate Boost

Posted on February 19, 2013 by Ken Gray

This is a release from the Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy Group:

Ottawa Taxpayers hosed at the pump by a double barrel water rate increase to fund a 5x rate of inflation wage increase.

Ottawa Drinking Water & Waste Water Services Water Dept double barrel 7% increase in rates is further proof of why MTAG has been calling on municipalities across Canada to increase outsourcing of administrative functions like, HR, Finance, IT, Planning, Billing, Call Centre etc. Halifax is preparing to outsource HR and IT services like SAP to the Province of Nova Scotia. Tucson Arizona School Service Board voted to outsource services like payroll, maintenance, transport in a money saving effort. Boca Beach & Park District in Florida has just accepted proposals to outsource their financial management.


For example Ottawa is raising water rates 7%, but is this because of rising benefits and overtime or actual materials for infrastructure? From 2012 to 2013, the average compensation per person is up 9% (worst record in comparison to City average of 5%), to $87,833 per person (salary + benefits + overtime / FTEs).


This growth rate is 2% more than the same for material services and obvious evidence that private sector taxpayers are being penalized to increase lavish public sector benefits in comparison to affordable private sector benefits at future outsourced tender winners.


Ottawa needs to be transparent with residents and explain that the raises are mainly due to higher compensation. In theory

Ottawa cannot borrow to fund compensation, so the gap between a 7% user fee increase and a 9% average compensation per person increase can only be funded through some creativity in financial reporting.


Perhaps we need even more money for infrastructure, we propose departmental compensation restraint, and the savings be used for upgrading aging infrastructure. A burst pipe should, not be an excuse to raise wages at 10 times the rate of inflation (0.83% from 2011 to 2012).


Ade Olumide

President, Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy Group

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