Letter to the Editor of the Time & Transcript, sent January 26, 2009.
We all know that guy, the guy who is always trying to save every dollar and every dime.
He buys the cheapest clothes and shoes he can, but he pays over and over because nothing ever lasts. He bought a tiny tin car that's always in the shop for repairs. Nobody ever goes out with him because he'll always try to evade the bill.
Ironically, it costs him more money in the long run because he's always replacing or repairing the substandard products he buys.
It's an unpleasant way to live, and makes him a disagreeable person. Nobody want to be around him, and nobody depends on him to do a good job, because he's always cutting corners, always looking for the cheap way out.
Our newspaper writers appear to want Moncton City Council to be that guy.
They want council to buy a cheap school that will need to be replaced in 30 years (or less) instead of paying twice the amount for a better school that will last much more than twice as long.
They want Moncton to save money with a regional police force instead of spending on the RCMP. Cities like Saint John and Halifax may pay less for their police, but they struggle with the cost of much higher crime rates. Their citizens may face gangs and organized crime, but they pay less for their police!
The newspaper writers urge Council to look for ways to cut spending on public transit, reasoning that the needs of the 7000 people who use the system don not warrant the expense. But do they consider the cost of 7000 more vehicles on the road? The inconvenience faced by tourists? The costs to the people who take the bus to work?
An editorial recently attacked the salaries paid to teachers in the city. In a province that has difficulty attracting and retaining professionals, salary cuts are exactly the wrong strategy. What is the cost to the city when businesses locate elsewhere because they cannot find qualified people to work in their shops and offices?
The whole philosophy of trying to save every dollar and every dime is misguided. It is harmful to the city, harmful to its people and harmful to our image.
Don't be so cheap! Buy quality. Pay people what they're worth. It will save us money in the long run, and will make the city a more pleasant place to live in the meantime.