Last night I attended a Regina city council meeting where the usage of a Public Private Partnership for the construction, operation and maintenance of a new waste water treatment plant was discussed.
There was some opposition from a couple of old hard-left groups who presented to the council. They seemed to believe that a “profit-margin” was simply a fixed percentage that private companies add on to the top of their expenses, and so naturally beleived that a private contract would cost more than doing it publicly. They also wanted to know what the council would or could do if the private company decided to increase their profit margin and charge the council more – they didn’t seem to understand the concept of a pre-arranged price written down in a contract.
Luckily, the city officials were on hand to explain the finer details of economics and profits and the majority of councillors voted in favour of the next stage of the project. In fact, I believe it may have even been unanimous, though I’m not sure as I couldn’t see every single councillor from the seat I was in in the gallery.
The city will now wait to hear back from the federal government as to whether they are eligible to receive a federal grant (another blog post topic), before issuing a Request For Proposal to the business community.