I must say that I have followed the ongoing saga of the 38th Street residents, along with the ongoing story of the county annexation and I am still somewhat befuddled by the whole process.
When it comes to the 38th Street residents it seems like the town is purposefully and unjustly trying to avoid its financial obligations and put them off onto a very small group of people without their consent and informed knowledge.
I always thought that infrastructure costs were suppose to be spread amongst all the residents of a community and not simply foisted upon a select few. The story begins with the town informing these residents that they will have to pay for certain infrastructure improvements and subsequently begins by stripping their road of the dust abatement material that had been applied. In the meantime though the town promises them that once the infrastructure improvements are made that that this very same material will be reapplied. However even though this material was now in the possession of the town, the town proves to be unable to keep it safe and then tells the residents that there will be a reapplication fee for the now new material that will involve an unexpected charge. When the 38th Street residents ask for an accounting of the project’s costs they are rebuffed by town council and told that the Alberta privacy legislation applies, thus preventing the project’s costs figures from being released. It seems that the job of this group of people is only to pay and have no say.
Given all of these town problems why would it be amazing to anyone that the county residents, who are watching all of this go on, would be reluctant to have the town take them into its fold? After all, they have already installed their own infrastructure — water, sewer — and if the town takes them over then they will have to foot the bill to have the town give them what they already have. In other words the town is offering them nothing beneficial but is rather going to inflict financial harm on them since everything that they have done in these two areas will become worthless.
If the town wants to have the county residents within its boundaries then the town needs to offer them a reason why becoming a part of the town is more desirable then it is for them to continue to be a part of the county. Why should they allow their land to be annexed just so that it can sit on the town’s shelf as inventory and at no cost to the town itself. After all, the process of annexation does not involve the town laying out any money to buy the land that they want to put into their “land inventory.” For the town, its costs for annexation are minuscule and mostly are related to redrawing its legal boundary. What merchant wouldn’t love to be able to take in product for sale at some possible future date, at no costs to the business? The only time when such a situation exists is when the product is being sold under a consignment contract but this is not a consignment transaction nor is this a situation where we have purely an object that is for sale. We are dealing here with lives of people. People who have made a deliberate choice as to where they will live and have invested their financial resources into one of the biggest purchases that any one will ever make, which is their house.
Lastly I would point out that in the case of the proposed annexation and 38th Street situation, that there seems to be a problem that is shared by both. That problem is the problem of methodology. When you couple the problem with this study and the problem with the 38th Street study it would appear that what we are presented with is a real question of our elected officials competence and desire to do the right thing. It seems to me that they probably are guilty of over-reliance on their hired “hands” and don’t take the time to study things well enough themselves.
Saving the taxpayers money is a good thing but saving money at someone else’s expense is plain wrong.
And you shouldn’t need to do an expensive study to know that.
Julian Ross Hudson