[nSLUG] local ns e-govt and oss???

Bob Ashley ax386 at chebucto.ca
Thu Feb 17 11:21:26 AST 2005

Thanks for the input, Miles.

Miles Thompson wrote:
> Bob,
> They'll all swear they're cash-strapped, but check their expenditures 
> and where they have surpluses buried.

That'll probably change, at least somewhat, now that they've switched to 
full accrual accounting. It is a fact, too, that much expenditure, 
formerly taken up by the feds and provs was offloaded to the munies. 
Wharves is probably the best example. Maintenance is mainly done by 
volunteers, but there's still a serious infrastruture deficit. Towns are 
falling apart.

> Municipality of East Hants uses SAP for taxes and water; moans about 
> lack of funds, yet loses close to $160, 000/yr on an over-staffed 
> municipal pool, and has a huge surplus stuffed away in various reserves. 
> Area rates are not consistent, the tail (rural councillors) wags the dog 
> - curtailing needed expenditures in the Enfield - Shubenacadie corridor. 
> Helluva mess.

Gee, maybe I oughta apply for a job!

> Our Chamber of Commerce has repeatedly tackled them on the surplus - 
> they cannot identify how much is enough, like most misers.

Part of this is undoubtedly the inherently obsfucating practice of 
old-time reserve accounting. I know CA's who won't touch it, too messy.

> Most like candidate for help? Town of Canso?

You can say that again!

But, putting the political aside, momentarily...Would you support an 
administrative initiative towards unix-based municipal egovernment? I 
notice Microsoft is retaliating, claiming that in the end, Unix will 
cost more than proprietary setups. We have to be dubious about that 
counterclaim, for sure.

Do you think citizens would reap more benefits than incurred costs? 
Politics aside.


> Cheers - Miles
> At 06:40 AM 2/17/2005, you wrote:
>> NSLUG Pundits,
>> I'm doing a policy paper which will explore the idea of municipal 
>> egovernment in NS looking at open source software (oss), perhaps as a 
>> pilot project. If report looks plausible, I'll submit it to Service 
>> Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and Union of Nova Scotia 
>> Municipalities.
>> Any opinions, comments, guffaws, sneers, cheers?
>> Risking one more step, let's say, hypothetically they went for it. 
>> Would anyone in the Linux community ever consider donating some 
>> experience to say, a small, cash-strapped municipality? Perhaps in the 
>> form of a consulting committee or some such other vehicle? The idea 
>> here is citizen-engagement and citizen consultation. I know it's a 
>> tough sell. Cynicism and mistrust rules the era. On the other hand, 
>> the oss community does have the some features of 'community-minded' 
>> people. Just trying to get a feel for possible reaction to such a 
>> suggestion.
>> Declaring my interest: If there's any hint of a supportive community 
>> lurking in the background, it would give my argument more persuasive 
>> force. And, of course, I really do think there's reasons to explore 
>> this egovernment option.
>> Input heartily welcomed!
>> Bob
>> (the immigrant postponing Debian install until piled up schoolwork 
>> complete...early April)
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