Aye aye Captain … full St-R-eam ahead!

During the June 24, 2014 council meeting, captains of the Rocky View utility industry (the councillors) rammed through the approval to spend $80,000 and put together the implementation plans for sole director Rolly Ashdown’s Aqueduct Utility Corporation.  Rocky View resident’s attention were diverted just enough so they glazed over the next agenda item, bylaw C-7380-2014. This new bylaw sails the S.S. Rocky View deeper into debt, by borrowing an addition $530,100 to upgrade the water distribution system for new Blueridge Rise community.

The ½ -a-million dollar completion will be paid back by imposing an estimated $1800/yr local improvement tax on each of the 18 residences until the debt is paid back. Despite the loan details which are yet to be negotiated, the loan parameters are to see Rocky View County make annual or semi-annual equal payments, not to exceed twenty-five (25) years, at an interest rate of less than 10%. Note to reader – to pay back $530,100 over 25 years at 10%, a tax levy for 18 houses should be more like $2800 per year, just saying!

The plan to complete this distribution system was charted back in July 2012, when a deal was struck between Rocky View County, Blazer Water Systems, and Watermark Development Limited Partnership.  The plan was to connect Bearspaw Village and Blueridge Rise communities to the Blazer Water Systems water-treatment system.  

The original deal included Watermark and Blazer to oversee and “pay for the work” needed to upgrade the Blazer water treatment plant, and Watermark agreed to “oversee and pay” for the installation of the piping that would allow for connection. But in November 2012 Rocky View County agreed to -front- $1 million dollars to Watermark Development Limited Partnership for the completion of the water infrastructure project, in which Watermark agreed to pay back the money, wink, wink.

Unable to meet its debt obligations in 2012 and 2013, Rocky View County decided to used taxpayer’s money to pay down the county debt as a “temporary solution” when development fees came up short. At the time, it was explain to taxpayers that using taxpayer money is temporary and “when” the money from the developers comes in, it will be paid back to the reserves. Presumably, the money never showed up, and the “permanent solution” is to transfer the debt repayment directly to the taxpayers. Deja Vu or Modus Operandi?

Perhaps taxpayers can take solace in the fact that, Watermark Development Limited Partnership fully stoked the boilers with financial coal during the 2013 election, setting the record as the highest single campaign contributor in Rocky View history, with total contributions of $12,000, equally distributed across Councillors Rolly Ashdown, Earl Solberg and Bruce Kendall, and three other candidates.

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