I am disappointed that Cornwall City Council at its meeting on September 13, with the exception of Councillor Mark MacDonald, voted to maintain the controversial council members’ personal expense accounts of $2515. They have been used primarily as a slush fund to make donations to local charities and community organizations. Taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on a variety of events such as fundraising golf tournaments, concerts, dinners, dances, galas, and political party fundraisers.
The council members’ personal expense accounts are not necessary because there is already a separate budget of $30,000 for council as a whole including the Mayor for travel, conferences, workshops, and seminars related to city business. There is also a separate public relations budget of $10,000 for council as a whole including the Mayor. It should also be noted that council members’ remuneration is 1/3 tax free to defray out of pocket expenses for council members in the performance of their duties.
I strongly believe that the council members’ personal expense accounts of $2515 should be eliminated. I also believe that Mayor Bob Kilger’s very generous personal expense account should be reduced from $15,000 to $8,000 where it was in 2007 before being raised to $15,000 in 2008. At the same time in 2008, a separate budget of $25,000 was also established for the Mayor and city councillors for travel, conferences, workshops, and seminars related to city business and then increased to $30,000 for 2010. A close examination of the Mayor’s personal expense account over the past four years shows spending on donations to various community organizations, fundraising dinners and golf tournaments, political party fundraisers, and most recently $919.98 to attend a funeral in Windsor Ontario.
It is time for the Mayor & city council to show restraint in their personal spending of taxpayers’ dollars.
Brian Lynch, Cornwall Ontario
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