2014 Municipal Budget – Dog and Pony show – Mark A MacDonald on Cornwall Ontario Budget – LTE

mark sept 2013Letter to the Editor:

Things have to change. There is no way the taxpayers in Cornwall can continue on the “never ending road” of property tax increases.

If we used a system of revenue based budgeting it would mean that we only spend what we take in, it’s that simple.

This Council raised taxes last year but then found a few million dollars to pay for settlements to employees.

Every year City Council puts us through the same dog and pony show. It’s time to say, enough us enough.

Mark A. MacDonald

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townhall meeting


  1. Decades of corruption and bad management. Imagine if we would of had good honest polititians fifty years ago and up to the present, perhaps other municipalities would envy Cornwall.
    Ever wonder why alot of people that work in Cornwall making good salaries and live in nice homes live on the outside of Cornwall. It’s because the property tax are about half and so is the water tax. We need drastic changes but nobody wants to make waves.

  2. I have mentioned the following concept in this forum on previous occasions. Tie the maximum municipal tax increase to the actual rate of inflation for the prior year. Borrowing cannot exceed, in any given budgetary segment, beyond a predetermined level without approval from the public at a minimum 60% acceptance.

    This concept of actual rate of inflation increases is not mine. Several communities already manage their municipalities in this manner.

    This format requires greater vision and planning which the community could only benefit from.

    I agree with ERIC on the sustainability of municipal remuneration.
    It is completely unrealistic to think that increases to compensation packages can continue to outpace actual inflation. Here is a question that all tax payers should and have a right to know the answer to….What percentage of the current tax bill represents the total cost to the taxpayer of the total employment costs ( full time, part time, temporary, contract, etc.) ? How many think that the number has passed the 60% point ? How long before we have to greatly pare back our expectations concerning service levels, programs, etc. due to spiraling employment costs. I would wager to say that the time is before us now !

    AL it is my opinion that we need to merely rally around the individual that isn’t afraid to say what is needed, do what is required and gives the respect to the community that it deserves.

  3. Author

    I for one believe that the city can freeze taxes with a ZERO increase this year without cutting any services. They might have to cut down on their wasteful and pointless litigation and golden parachute program; they might have to not fire staff and then reinstate or retire them.

    They might have to ask each department to find 1% savings without cutting service.

    Anything over zero should not be acceptable in light of the increases the last two years.

  4. ADMIN I have to agree that in light of the increases in the past two years ZERO is necessary.

  5. Author

    I would take it a step further and suggest that any of the councilor or even for Mayor Kilger to put up their hands and vote for any increase this year would surely be committing political suicide. Of course many would suggest that this council and mayor have already yanked that cord a few times already….

  6. It appears to me that the city of Cornwall is living beyond it’s means We have buses powered by natural gas, nice equipment all around, the Benson center yet we have to pay for parking downtown.. WE ARE LIVING IN A BIGGER CITY’S pants when we should still be wearing diapers.. Taxes here are way too high…

  7. Jamie,

    Yes, this council has spent recklessly in terms or termination, packages, forced retirements and astronomical legal fees etc. and without accountability they will continue this behaviour.

    At this point the reality of the budget is as identified by the manager of finance and there will be at least a 2% increase. Council may wish to point the finger at labour instead of themselves but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what the real problem with this city is. You will not see change until the tax payers collectively use their power on election day 2014.

    Diane Shay

  8. Author

    $281,000 in advertising? Really?

  9. LOL LOL. As long as Bare Ass and his gang running the town nothing will change. You will have taxes coming in and out of your “you know what” and ask yourselves what you are paying for – a mighty polluted place called “The Benson Centre” which could be used as the city dump since it is highly polluted and nobody who is normal would set foot in there since it is full of cancers. All people are paying for is this place that should never have been built there as well as lawsuits (big fancy and hefty pockets like the lawyer was keeling over on his wallet) and all the corruption that stinks to high heaven. I am having a mighty good laugh this evening and haven’t laughed like this is a long time.

  10. Corruption is a cancer that is eating away at society and if allowed to go untreated will eventually lead to a total breakdown of the law abiding society and ultimately the destruction of our democracies.
    The poorer People in Cornwall remain poorer thanks to corrupt Governments and equally corrupt corporations. The incestuous relationship between politics and big business in the small city Cornwall in Canada has led to an increase in corrupt practices in every sector as short term personal greed became more important than the well being of the people.
    Globalization and the removal of all monetary and banking regulations has led to a widening of the wealth gap as sovereign power has shifted to the financial and corporate sector away from nation

  11. Admin $281,000 spent in advertising ??? I am sure that CFN the largest most read media in the city could give the city a better deal than that and not have our city money wasted to promote some living magazine that noone in my opinion really reads but at my house is used to line the bottom of my recycle box.

  12. Author

    Gary it looks like the city is refusing to divulge how it spent that line item? An email to Ms Maureen Adams has not been returned so we’ll be forced to file a Freedom of Information request.

    It’s one thing when elected officials act like this; but quite another when respected city managers choose to behave in this manner….

  13. I do agree that the city needs to get away from paying out million dollar settlements to former employees.

    As far as revenue based budgeting that is fine, but as in other years we have had increased assessments and new tax revenue as a result of new buildings and has it got us ?

    Cornwall is at standstill and will continue this way unless the powers to be can take off blinders and realize what needs to be done to grow like many other municipalities.

    If we grow it means more houses, more people, more better paying jobs and most importantly more tax revenues which would surely bring taxes to a much lower average.

    I’m sorry but I cannot agree with Mark MacDonald on the tax issue he and whomever will only keep this city “an ever stagnant city” like those before him, we need to be progressive and I believe for one that we do not need to become a retirement community as it seems to turning out to be.

    He wants the spend as you go approach, take any new revenue and use it to keep the taxes at zero increases. How can a city grow using that approach?

    We need to be a community of all people. We need forthcoming politicians who have travelled around and seen things ) and I don’t mean travelled to a few hick towns)

    We need leaders that will bring us up to par with other highly progressive towns the same size as ours!!

    Personally speaking I think Cornwall has to much green space on the waterfront, although I really like what Chuck and his committee would like to see at the old wharf area.

    Blinders are on, politicians lets go forward by finding out what is out there, let’s be progressive in ideas
    and if you want some just ask

    We have visited all 49 states (including Alaska) and all ten provinces including the Yukon, so if ideas are needed they are there for the asking to help bring the city to where it should be on the map.

    LOOK AROUND copying ideas for growth is not a bad idea.

    My philosophy in life is “JUST DO IT”

    I am not one to have ever complained about my taxes.

    By the way yes my wife and I are retired, but that doesn’t mean we can’t just do it.

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