Category Archives: Saskatoon City Council

Viewpoint: Transit services need to be election issue — Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The issue of public transit challenged city council the most in its 2012-16 term. Residents who use transit and want it improved formed Bus Riders of Saskatoon in the fall of 2014. We want to live in a city where using public transit is easy. It should be a viable transportation choice for all, and…

via Viewpoint: Transit services need to be election issue — Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Saskatoon Municipal Campaign Donations

Following up on my earlier post on Saskatchewan Provincial Political Donations, here is a look at the top 5 donors for the last municipal election in 2012. While this information is publicly available on the City of Saskatoon website, as with Elections Saskatchewan, the required filings by candidates are only available in pdf format. F&#$ing pain in the ass. Now that I have this spreadsheet all set up, I’ll be adding the 2016 info once it becomes available.

While currently displaying the top five donors (more if there are “ties”) for each candidate, this embedded spreadsheet should allow you to also sort by individual, corporate etc donor and if the slicer on the right works, you can select only the candidates you want to display.

 

 

Special thanks to the other Hilary (twitter) (blog) who got this ball rolling several years ago and asked for my help creating the original spreadsheet of this info. She not only sparked my interest in the 2012 data, but working on the municipal spreadsheet spurred me to do the provincial as well.

 

Are Used Buses Really Saving Money?

For years, Saskatoon Transit has been purchasing used buses as a means of replacing or adding vehicles in a cost effective way. But is purchasing and refurbishing used buses really saving money?

On the agenda of the recent meeting of the City of Saskatoon’s Standing Policy Committee on Transportation is the recommendation to Council that a tender for the structural refurbishment of five (yes, five. Remember that number) articulated buses be awarded at a cost of $660,000. That’s just structural, not engines, drive-train, or interiors.

While I am sure these buses do need to be refurbished if they are to continue service, we are now starting to see the true cost of the “Buy Used” strategy that has been in place at Saskatoon Transit for many years. The report to council section on “replacement versus refurbishment cost comparison” only compares the cost of replacement or refurbishment, with no mention of the acquisition or operating costs to date, or total cost of ownership for the life of the vehicles.

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Public Transit and Development Levies

In the agenda for the upcoming Saskatoon City Council Executive Committee meeting is a report to council from Hemson Consulting on “Financing Growth” that council commissioned in late 2013. This report indirectly identifies an area in which provincial legislation and the actions of the city can be improved, especially with respect to Public Transit and how it is funded.

Of the ways that a city can fund its operations and capital costs the most obvious and easily identifiable to the average citizen are property taxes, user fees, and funds from higher levels of government. A less well known but significant source are development levies.

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