So … What Needs to be Done?

Feb 23, 2015 – At its meeting on February 18, the Council considered Terms of Reference for an independent assessment of the Bio-Digester. As I understand it, these Terms of Reference were prepared by CAO/Clerk Will Moore in consultation with a retired financial advisor who now lives near Walters Falls who offered to provide some advice at a Council meeting six or eight months ago when the subject first came up.

At the meeting, Council agreed that there would be a description of some sort added to this draft, and that the date for submission of proposals be extended by two weeks or so. I will post an update when I find out anything more.

Feb 1, 2015 – A question arose out of my report to the Council dated January 30. Consequently, I prepared this short Supplementary Report with today’s date. I sent it by email to CAO/Clerk Moore this evening, asking that it be added as another “Information Item” to the Agenda Package for the next Council meeting.

Jan 30, 2015 – Report to the Chatsworth Council: Finding the Best Way to Treat and Dispose of Septage in Chatsworth

Councillors asked some important questions at the end of my January 14 presentation to the Chatsworth Council. There are links to the Full Report and the Executive Summary under the Council Meetings tab.

In thinking about their questions, I decided that I should prepare more complete and thought-out answers than I was able to provide at the meeting. My initial “Q and A” format evolved into another full-fledged report. As I said in my email to CAO/Clerk Will Moore this morning when I sent the new report to him, “things often turn out to be more complicated than we expect.” I hope he sees the irony in that.

I did not ask Mr. Moore to schedule me to address the Council. Rather, I simply asked that the report be included as an “Information Item” for the next Council meeting. I did offer, however, to attend a meeting to discuss the contents of the report if Council so desires.

Oct 25, 2014 Preliminary Terms of Reference for an Independent Study

This was on the agenda of the Council meeting on October 15, 2014. The Council considered draft terms of reference dated October 6, 2014 that had been prepared by Chatsworth resident Bob deJong who had spoken in support of an independent study at one of the public meetings in July.

Mr. deJong’s draft was not included in the public Agenda package provided in advance of the meeting. When I asked about this by email on the day after the meeting, CAO Will Moore said that this occurred because the pages apparently had stuck together in the scanner (more information under the Council Agenda Packages tab).

Based on the contents of the October 15 Agenda package, I assumed that there would be a verbal update so I didn’t attend the meeting. Therefore, I know nothing more about the discussion than what Mr. Moore said in an email to me on October 16:

“Attached is the report from Bob Dejong. Council approved moving forward. I have been in contact with Mr. Dejong and we are planning to have something further for Council at the November meeting.”

Sept 22, 2014 – We Need an Independent Study

On June 18, 2014, I made this presentation to the Chatsworth Council.

I began my oral presentation by explaining why I filed a Freedom of Information request (point 1 of the presentation). I went on to provide a short overview of the disastrous financial implications of the situation at present (point 2, which includes some of the information under the tab “Hiding the Costs”), and then addressed what seems to be the endemic problem of making and using assumptions that are unrealistic (point 3, related to information under the “Assumptions” tab).

In point 4, I urged Chatsworth Council to undertake “a thoughtful re-assessment from an engineering perspective, together with a realistic business plan, that points the way forward.”

Point 5 of my presentation was near the heart of the reason I started this blog. Maybe it was acceptable in the past to not bother to keep residents and taxpayers informed, but it isn’t acceptable now. The last information provided to Chatsworth residents and taxpayers was four years ago (that was when we were given the story about paying for itself in less than 10 years, no mention of subsidizing the Sunset Strip, etc).

Point 6 combined points 4 and 5, and urged an independent engineering and financial study with full public input.

Following my presentation at the meeting, the Minutes of which can be found here, Council seemingly came to a consensus that an independent study should be undertaken. Since the Chatsworth Minutes don’t record discussion, and since the consensus reached was not recorded in the form of a motion, there is no record of any discussion or any consensus. Strange, isn’t it?

Maybe not so strange, because there is no evidence whatsoever that our Leaders (Mayor Bob Pringle, Deputy Mayor Terry McKay and CAO/Clerk Will Moore) are interested in any independent study and report or in providing opportunities for meaningful public input.

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