More TSBP Staff Deceit re The Oliphant Water Plant Fiasco (Craig’s Commentary 3-10)

In my commentary number 3-6, which is at: ,

I talked about the Oliphant water system fiasco.

In the commentary I said:

“Council has decided to make all TSBP residents pay for 50% of the Fiddlehead system upgrade bills, which is illegal. The other 50% will be distributed to all Sauble System users, which is also illegal.”

A resident on the Sauble school water system read my commentary 3-6 and asked council:

“Is Mr. GAMMIE implying that I am about to get another bill over and above the $7300 I’ve already paid, for the correction of the Fiddlehead water operation?”

The resident got a response from the new Manager of public works (Tom Gray) as follows:

Mr. xxxxxx

Council has approved a budget which will put the Oliphant plant back in operation based on a plan reviewed and approved by the M.O.E.. Half of the estimated costs associated with the refurbishing are included in the existing “Sauble” water rates and the other half will come from the general tax levy. It is estimated that the cost for the works at the Oliphant plant may be $290,000. Therefore, $145,000 has been applied to the general taxes and $145,000 are coming out of the Sauble Water budget. It should be noted that the Sauble water rates have not changed because of this expenditure. Staff will be working closely with the Consultant to minimize the cost of the works. An example of what we would be looking at is the cost to clean the existing media, if it is determined that it can be sufficiently cleaned, compared to replacing the media. We will implement the least expensive method provided we can achieve a comparable outcome . I can assure you that Council and Staff are aware of the costs associated with the Oliphant Plant and will be doing what we can to minimize these cost as we go forward.
I hope I have addressed your concerns in this matter as I was unable to determine your interpretation of the attached document in regards to “another bill”. There is not a separate bill being sent out to the residents of the Sauble Water System or the Town of South Bruce Peninsula in regards to the Sauble Water System/Oliphant Water Treatment Plant refurbishing. If you require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Tom Gray CET
Manager of Public Works

First of all Mr. Gray did not even acknowledge my claim that the decision process was all wrong.

Secondly, Mr. Gray did not even acknowledge my submission that charging the taxpayers for half of the Oliphant upgrade is illegal. And Mr. Gray did not even acknowledge my claim that charging Sauble water system users other than Oliphant users is also illegal.

In fact, both are illegal. Municipal Act section 391 is very clear on that.

But council and staff don’t care about the Municipal Act. They know that if they contravene the act, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs can do absolutely nothing and will do absolutely nothing. They know that residents can take them to court if they breach the act, but they also know that there is only one citizen, maybe two at most, with the courage to take them to court over their contraventions of the act. And they know that if a resident does take them to court they can raid the peoples’ treasury and use it to line up a wall of lawyers to oppose that single resident.

As a result they contravene the act with virtual impunity.

And the people of TSBP will suffer. All the residents in TSBP will see another two per cent increase in taxes to pay for the Oliphant system upgrades.

Finally Mr. Gray is being completely dishonest about water rates.

Mr. Gray said:

“It should be noted that the Sauble water rates have not changed because of this expenditure.”

$145,000 is coming out of the Sauble area water budget to pay for the Oliphant upgrades and Sauble area rates are not higher because of it? ????

Does Tom Gray think everyone is stupid?

(Mr. Gray’s comment reminded me of former works manager Phil Dwyer’s June 29, 2011 dismissal of comments from the public as “not rational”, and “misinformed”).

In his letter Tom Gray implied that people on the Sauble Area water systems are not paying for the $145,000 Oliphant upgrade cost in their monthly water bills.

This is false. This is very dishonest. This is deceitful. This is a scam.

The reason ”Sauble water rates have not changed” is because the cost of the $145,000 Oliphant upgrades was already built into the new water rates last year. No matter how you look at it, Sauble area water users are paying the $145,000. No matter how Mr. Gray tries to spin the story, Sauble area water users are or will be paying $145,000 more in their monthly bills than they would be if they were not illegally being charged the $145,000 for the Oliphant upgrades.  That’s an extra $290 per property spread out on their monthly bills.

The last works manager was bound to honesty and integrity by the professional engineer’s code of ethics, and by her own ethical compass.

So when she was ordered to scam the people, and to betray the people, and to deceive the people, she refused. But from John Close’s perspective (and Jay’s and Jim’s and anyone else who supported John), her honesty and integrity was a barrier, and a problem. So they, being the dark side, fired her.

Then they decided not to hire another professional engineer.

I find Mr. Gray’s response extremely dishonest and unacceptable.

The smell at town hall is getting worse.

If 99 people e-mail me and commit to holding back enough tax to balance their part of the $145,000 being illegally charged to us, I will be the first to hold back. It will mean holding back 2% of your property taxes for a year. It will mean holding back $20 per $1000 of billed taxes.

What can the dark side do if 100 or more of us revolt?


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