Ratepayers Assn. sold out its principles for $500

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Dear Editor:

In regard to my opposition to give taxpayer dollars to the Rimbey Ratepayers Association, I disagree with the Rimbey Review’s reporting of my position. However, my disagreement doesn’t justify a request for a correction or retraction.

The accusation that I was wrong to oppose funding for the Ratepayers Association on the basis that, in my opinion, it was a conflict is a bit ironic if not hypocritical. (Ref: “Ratepayers Assn. says Anglin wrong about conflict”)

The Rimbey Ratepayers Association was founded as a political watchdog group. I know this to be true, because I drafted the society’s application for incorporation. Now this organization has accepted funding from the very town council it is supposed to monitor and hold accountable. If this is not a conflict, clearly we differ on principles and the interpretation of what is a conflict.

Second, claims that the ratepayers didn’t propose a list of acceptable candidates is a clever play on words, but they are hollow words none the less. The Rimbey Ratepayers drafted the very candidates to run for council that they now claim they didn’t propose. All the current council members, who were former members of the ratepayers, made known their intentions to resign from the Ratepayers Association to avoid being in conflict. Stated another way, they have resigned to avoid the appearance of a conflict with an organization they have now voted to fund. Surely this is ironic.

What is hypocritical of the Ratepayers Association is the claim that the funding received was well spent, because the funding supported a program that defended the current town council against criticism for awarding a questionable recycling contract. I personally question the objectivity of the ratepayers and whether they would have defended the previous town council in the same manner, under the same circumstances.

If the ratepayers had only done their job, as an objective watchdog group, they would know that the recycling contract awarded, (and the object of criticism), was not recommended to this council by the town’s administration. There were three bids (recycling contracts) and the town’s administration recommended Ever Green Ecological Services’ bid as being “superior in several key areas.” Critical to the administration’s recommendation was the fact that Ever Green’s bid exceeded all aspects of the RFP, and did so at a substantially lower cost. Of the three options offered by Ever Green, each option could have avoided the criticism the ratepayers claim to have now nullified, with the purchase of $500 worth of taxpayer funded publicity.

As a member of town council, I do not need, nor do I want, to fund the Rimbey Ratepayers to come to the defence of unwise council decisions that are the subject of criticism. I would rather the ratepayers do what they said they would do, and question this council on why a recycling contract was awarded, at a higher cost, to a friend of one of the existing councillors — a contract that was rejected by the town’s administration as inferior.

My reason for opposing funding for the ratepayers is a matter of principle. An organization that claims to be independent should take appropriate steps to be independent. If the ratepayers had any principles, they would return the $500 back to the taxpayers of Rimbey. If they refuse, shame on them for pretending to be an independent ratepayers’ association.

Coun. Joe Anglin

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