The Dirty Truth

There are many pieces put out by Christopher Hume of the Star that I have admired.

But not today.

He claims that the city’s financial woes are not Miller’s fault. I would beg to differ.

Looking at the city’s budget from a macro level, prior to Miller, the official budget depicts graphic lines that were very stable. Since then the spending in particular has climbed on a dramatic 60 % incline.

On a micro level I would like to give one example of how one mere political decision Miller made will impact our city’s finances for generations to come.

Leading up to the last municipal election Miller thought Toronto needed a “right-now” solution to its waste needs. But in truth all he wanted was a needed boost to his campaign.

So he put a “down stroke” on the purchase of the $220 million Green Lane landfill.

Take note that Toronto does not own Green Lane. It’s not paid for. All Miller did was make a partial payment and sign a purchase and sale contract.

After this Miller instructed city staff to bring forth a business plan to figure out how to pay for this landfill. I have to tell you they presented about 5 different clueless options that all came up with this miraculous zero balance cost to taxpayers. To an astute business person the numbers are comically sad; they pass for a business plan written by a first year undergrad.

Coupled with this issue is a big ticket $125 million budget line for landfill monitoring that noooobboodddyyy mentions. This money covers the 50 plus old and dated landfills the city must maintain forever. And this is an exponentially growing big-time drain. The cost for Keele Valley Landfill alone was $6 million a year last year.

He should be forced to resign for the the price he paid for the landfill. Miller’s political quick fix will cost $44.00 per ton to dump before closure costs at Green Lane.. Meanwhile, you can pay $9.00 per ton to dump in Michigan with no liability.

Did I mention Toronto is still contractually obligated to send its waste to Michigan for several more years?

Buying a landfill is far from prudent. In the year 2007 only an idiot would do so. The environmental risk is way too high – even if the landfill was built with today’s engineering.

Green Lane, on the other hand, opened in 1978. Miller has committed us to pay for a landfill that already has 30 year old technology. And to pay for the liability. And pay for the lifetime monitoring.

Did you know Toronto filled three larger landfills alone since 1978?

Miller should have just leased this landfill. The owner ol’ man McCaig did not have any real suitors.

At the end of the day his new user fee waste system is, in reality, needed to pay for a political boost in his last campaign.

So Mr. Hume I have to disagree.

By the way, Mr. Hume, if you live in Toronto remember when putting out the garbage in your new “Miller cans”, call it “Miller Time”. The large can is the “King Can”, the medium the “Bubba” and the small is one is the “Miller Light”.

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