David Rawnsley of Citizens Against Roadside Spraying Challenges Mayor Jim McDonell on his Maths – March 30, 2011

Dear Sir,
Counties Councilor Jim McDonell, who is a candidate for the Provincial Conservative Party’s nomination, is quoted as saying that it will cost an extra $3 million to mow the Counties’ roadsides if we cease the controversial spraying program.
The annual cost of the Counties mowing is $300,000. Mayor McDonell tells me that he gets to his $3 million number by saying we will have to mow 10 times (10x$300,000=$3 million). However, the current mowing costs include: an initial cut beside the roadside; a second cut that is the roadside, the ditch, and beyond the ditch to the fence-line; and possibly a third, late-season cut to control ragweed. Let us assume that the first and third cut each cost $50,000 we will be left with $200,000 to cover the much larger cut of the ditches and to the fence-line. This seems a reasonable allocation of the costs. 

The Counties only spray the roadsides, not the ditches and not beyond the ditches to the fence-line. Spraying costs $55,000 but we currently only spray 2/3rd of the roadsides, so to spray all the roadside would cost +$70,000.  Already you can see that spraying is more expensive than mowing, likely because you require a licensed “exterminator” to do the job. To make a comparison of cost we must compare apples with apples and not attempt to confuse people by throwing a large grapefruit into the mix.

What would Mayor McDonell’s $3 million provide? It would mean 80 instead of 8 mowing machines, 80 people instead of the current 8, and we would have the capacity to mow the roadsides 60 times at $50,000 per occasion.  Or we would cut everything to the fence-line 10 times turning those areas into parks. However, CARS have pointed out that with better management it could be done with our existing equipment and less cost.

As I contemplate what I have called “McDonell Math”, I am struck by another headline – the Counties difficulties in managing their budget – perhaps McDonell Math has something to do with this too?

David Rawnsley
Concerned SD&G Taxpayer

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Scott BeckDaily Dish News


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