Sunday, October 4, 2009

Getting bent

Some rather frisky fellows have taken a stroll down one of our nearby streets and bent all the street signs as they've passed. I counted half a dozen today where the signs are pointing at the ground rather than up the street in question.

"So what?", you say. "What's a few bent street signs?"

Someone from Council will have to come out and fix them up, that's why. Signs are there for a reason - to provide directions. When they are no longer able to perform that function because they are damaged or worn, then they have to be fixed or replaced and returned to a state where someone unfamiliar with the area can use them as intended.

What will it cost though to send someone out to fix them?

Well, it's probable that it will not be one person, but two. Someone to climb the ladder and someone to hold it. Plus you have the cost of providing a vehicle (such as a Falcon Ute), a ladder, tools, mobile phones and so on. Then you have the back office costs of supplying a supervisor to allocate and control the work, a depot to work from, offices in the depot for the supervisors and tool storage and so on.

I'm thinking sending a crew out to fix a bent sign will cost at least $250 if it has to be replaced. They might do one trip, determine that the sign is beyond repair, return to the depot, order a new one, then revisit to fit the replacement sign. That's an hour of travel time all up, another half hour or more on site to remove the old sign and put the new one up, plus all the on-costs of superannuation etc etc.

Once again, you say, "So what, the Council has plenty of money."

No, the Council does not have plenty of money. The only way for the Council to get plenty of money is for it to take more money from you and me. Or just me, if you are the type of unproductive person that enjoys breaking public property. If you think $250 is not a lot of money, then you are making a lot more money than me. Prove to me that it is not a lot of money - pay the full cost of replacing all those bent signs. In cash. Out of your own pocket.

Oh, so suddenly that's a lot of money, is it?

If there is one thing worse than people referring to a problem as being someone else's, it's spending someone else's money. Government money always seems to be free, and there appears to be plenty of it. It is not somebody else's money - it is our money, and I wish people would remember that. When public property is damaged, it is our property that is damaged. We, the public, paid for it, and we, the public, have to pay to put it right.

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