CORNWALL Ontario – Monday night two subjects stood out. Now these were distractions from the bigger mess of our budget which preliminary numbers are looking at a tax increase of over 5% which simply is not acceptable, especially considering the bloating of taxes through eight years of Kilger rule.
The first issue I’ll write about is the mess of 2nd Street and the narrowing from four lanes to two.
When you have city staffers running reports that get rubber stamped without proper public consultation this is the result you get. Here in Cornwall, City Hall, at least during my time here, has a clear issue with consulting with voters. I’m not sure why as an ad on the largest and most read media in our city isn’t that expensive.
The results can be the costly mess that 2nd Street is today. One media report blared that it would cost $35,000 to fix the roads. That’s about the price of your average car. Saving one accident per year alone could equal that and the more claims an area ends up with the higher all of our local insurance rates will go.
Bike paths? Yes, for sure. On Second street as they exist now? Not a chance. It’s ridiculous.
Apologies for the grainy video, but since Councilor Frost made some utterly impossible claims against myself the last time I attended council I am staying away due to the high legal costs of dealing with such claims which I expect will be cleared up shortly and may never recover costs on.
That City Hall is standing silent while Mr. Frost runs amok, he also said I made sexual advances upon him at a sales meeting, is to me a lack of leadership at City Hall. While some might try and hide behind that he’s doing things personally and not on behalf of the City, when the most Senior Journalist in a city of 46,000 has to deal with the cost of false claims while attending City Hall to cover Council is something that many should be concerned with.
I’ll be able to write about this in detail after our next court hearing.
As for Councilor Frost’s motion to create a $75K salary for an Arts person at City Hall, which Councilor Frost stated that “We should be ashamed” for not supporting I think that City Management and Council voted clearly in the right direction. At this point $300,000 per term makes no sense when we’re not supporting Artists to that tune. What exactly would that party co-ordinate at this point?
Mr. Frost’s plan was defeated unanimously with Brock asking for a recorded vote.
Personally I see a disconnect between Council and Arts at this time. The only real artist on Council, Mark MacDonald, who himself is a musician, was very quiet.
Councilor Murphy clearly does not support Arts and Culture. He sure as heck supports Benson’s as you can hear in his speech. (And what’s with the fascist Red and Black that he likes to wear along with his Brown Shirt haircut?)
The one issue that comes clear though is that the Arts Community needs to get its act together and work to push if there will ever be a bigger Arts Centre than TAG.
The babble about how the Hockey people supported the Benson Centre simply is babble. The Cart was in fact put before the Horse and frankly the Hockey people came up with less than 10% of the money. Some on council were simply in love or pushed by their partisan friends to grab at Federal and Provincial monies available at the moment. Instead of building a rink on each side of the City for about $12M they spend $35M on a facility that this city simply may not be able to afford.
However the Feds and Province will not pay for the upkeep at the end of the day. Tax payers will and if Councilor Rivette is right and Cornwall is in a “depression” then how will those that don’t even use the Benson Centre afford it? Yes, it’s time for larger user fees for those that do not reside in Cornwall especially as so many posturing for it live in freaking South Stormont and South Glengarry and don’t pay municipal taxes.
Councilor Justin Towndale (see Justin, no “S”) wrote about the meeting on his facebook page.
This is a quote he shared about Glen Stor Dun Lodge.
The original estimates were well below the updated estimates for the work. The work itself relates to the assistance (help) call system, floor replacements, and repairs and replacement of equipment for the backup generator system. The system is crucial in the event of a power outage. For the majority of these projects, Council has very little choice but to proceed. By provincial mandate, the city is required to operate a facility with the scope of Glen Stor Dun Lodge. It is also the city’s responsibility to ensure that it is up to code. The updated cost estimate numbers are the worst kind of surprise for any Council.
Frankly if this is truly the case someone (s) should be fired as this would be gross incompetence. Personally, in my opinion, I don’t believe that there were “surprises”. I do think that many times elected officials delay spending money.
Like the old Fram Oil commercials always told us “You can pay us today or pay me later.”
That former Mayor Kilger’s own mother resided at GSDL makes this even more sinister. It’s inexcusable, and half of this council was part of the last and I think owe the community some answers.
And this comes down to my final point in this 11th Councilor column and that’s about what do councilors owe the public when it comes to learning about important issues and not simply relying on reports from Management?
Some elected clearly were for recognition or popularity and not for their ability and of course the Municipal Act doesn’t have recall language meaning a bad choice or fraudulent choice essentially leaves a bad taste for four years.
The smartest and most likely capable candidate for council was not even close to being elected. Clearly there is a fail in our system and not only in Cornwall.
The result may be a 5% increase in taxes this year instead of cutting taxes with some stating next year will be worse!
At one point does the public simply run out of money?
What do you think Cornwall? You can post your comments below.
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