CFN – One of the reasons I love and hate Cornwall is the utter needless complexity that some people create. Instead of finding common ground and working together to better the community, egos whip up strange breezes of weirdness.
Such is the Community Action Group of Cornwall. Led by a steering committee of ten business people, some of whom will come to city hall and ask for cash while asking the city to cut taxes.
I know. It’s odd, but it’s Cornwall and one of the reasons I love this crazy town!
Here is the groups latest release as they are starting to go hard line on our corrupt spendthrifts at City Hall. It is unedited.
In the late fall of this year, Council gave the directive for a target of 3% increase for the 2013 Budget and Administration came back with 4.01% increase. This truly shows a sign that a lot of City Departments are not willing to change in order to get their budgets in line with the needs of the ratepayers. “We just can’t do It”…is a common phrase we hear when it’s budget time, in our homes, in our businesses, and at City Hall. The CAG feels it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity to get budgets in line with the ratepayers’ ability to pay.
The Community Action Group has been following the 2013 City of Cornwall Budget process with much interest and keen eye to try and find some type of change in direction. We were optimistic in the fall because of the increase in new assessment which should have put the City in a fair position in regards to a 2013 final tax rate. Unfortunately, the CAG sees more of what we have seen over the past 3 years of Council, spend, spend, spend with no change in direction whatsoever, which is not what is required.
Change is the only way to go forward, and without a change in direction we are just delaying the end result, HIGH TAXES. The CAG continues to believe that a tax increase of 0% is the only way forward. We know that this would mean a lot of changes with the way the City delivers services but what choice do we have.
Our tax rates are way too high compared to:#1- The ability of our ratepayers to pay#2- South Stormont & South Glengarry rates#3- The size of our populationWe continue to live with Champagne tastes, when we can only afford soda pop. For 2013, Council may get to their target of 3%, but again, this is not the answer.
The CAG recommends that City Council follow the lead of the City of London Ontario who in 2011 and 2012 were able to get to a 0% tax increase. We are not sure how they did it but it does prove that it is possible. Possibly difficult but it can be done. One thing is for certain and without a doubt, a major change is required. We feel all departments and city services need to be reviewed. The waste and unproductive structures within each area need to be dismantled, reorganized and reassembled so they are affordable. This change would also include a hiring and wage freeze for a minimum of 3 years. The status quo of “passing it on to the ratepayer” is not sustainable.
The CAG is committed to continuing to work with Council and Administration to ensure the voices of all community stakeholders are heard. What’s next for the CAG……..,to date our message does not seem to resonate with very many members of Council but there is hope, the fall of 2014 is municipal election time and the CAG will be there to ensure the 0% message gets heard and the people who believe that it is possible, will need to step forward.
The reality is, if taxpayers in the City of Cornwall do not stand up and push for change and a lower tax rate, it will not happen.Signed, Community Action Group of Cornwall/Groupe-Action Communautaire de Cornwall
Well they mean well. But if this group truly is serious they themselves will have to take action and look at the hard issues. And the big one is our Mayor, Bob Kilger, and his relationship with some of the CAG members, and the amount of money that his “good friend” former CAO Paul Fitzpatrick has cost the city in litigation and settlements. Something that most of the members of the committee of ten know all too well about.
I confirmed via telephone that the steering committee remains unchanged. Communitty Action Group Steering Committee Members
– Gerry Benson
– Sandy Cameron
– Dr. Michel Dubuc
– David Enns
– Bryan Merkley
– Roy Perkins